Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Teachers "Sick" For a Second Day; Students Taking Second Spring Break

Second Spring Break in the HWHSD

HELENA-WEST HELENA- For the second day in a row, the teachers in the Helena-West Helena School District have called in sick in protest of a 3% pay cut that is being implemented through firing the entire 2011-2012 staff and rehiring them as new employees.

Participation levels in the sick out remain high, but The Inside Scoop Online has reports that some building administrators are violating school policy by asking teachers for doctor's excuses without them missing the three consecutive days required by policy.  According to our sources, the teachers will be at work tomorrow and then back out Friday and Monday if no negotiations take place with the school administration and board. Working tomorrow keeps the three consecutive day provision from kicking in and means the district cannot require notices from a physician.  

One teacher contacted this morning said that many students at the high school campus appeared to have chosen to stay home this morning.  No reports were available from the other campuses at press time.  Feelings of frustration and resentment are also running high among the faculty.  One staff member, who asked to remain anonymous to avoid retaliation, said, "This is the worst I have ever seen.  If these school board members had any honor among them, they would quit after having done such a piss-poor job."

A former teacher in the district who still does some work for the schools also weighed in through an unsolicited phone call to Inside Scoop Online staff yesterday.  That person said, "This school board has managed to prove to the state what they already thought when they handed the district back to us.  They have proven that we have no business running our educational system because we continue to elect people who are wholly unqualified to serve in such an important position.  Look at that group.  We should be ashamed that our community thinks these people should be setting the course for our children.  The only good thing those seven could do is quit."

In related business, the school board affirmed by votes of 6-1 and 5-2 the administration's decision to lay off five employees as part of the district's reduction in force plan.  The employees had appealed that decision.  

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