Tucker BOE discusses new policy

Members of the Tucker County Board of Education learned about new hiring rules enacted by the state Department of Education during Monday’s meeting.

Dr. Edward Campbell, Tucker’s superintendent of schools, shared a written synopsis of the policy document with board members.

“I thought it was important that I share the new hiring rules under Policy 5000,” Campbell said. “I encourage you to familiarize yourselves to the significant changes in hiring practices and then to go online and send comments regarding the policy.”

Campbell said the policy went into effect July 1, and all professional teachers and personnel hirings must now follow the new policy.

“A major point in the policy is the involvement of the schools’ faculty senate in the selection process,” Campbell said. “That is something new but in Tucker County, we have always involved our faculty members in the hiring of teachers. In at least the two years I have been here, I have asked principals to include faculty senate in the hiring process.”

When faculty senates meet in July or August, they will determine one of four methods for their participation as described in the policy. Campbell said all three Tucker County schools can choose a different policy if they like or they can all choose the same policy.

“We have just received a memo from the state superintendent allowing faculty senates to have an emergency meeting in the summer to determine which method they will choose,” Campbell said. “It is a voluntary meeting that does require a quorum.

“I have put together a memo to go out to the principals Tuesday to share with all members of the faculty senate about what (state superintendent) Dr. (James) Phares has said about attendance and what they can do about the process,” Campbell said.

“Once they have determined what selection process they will use, then any of the members that are part of that process will be required to complete an on-line training module designed to last an hour. Once that module is completed, notification will be sent the superintendent that the module is completed and the faculty senate member will be paid for one hour according to their hourly rate. Then they will be able to participate in the faculty senate recommendation process for hiring teachers. Teachers are not able to complete the module until faculty senate members have met and determined their hiring method.”

Campbell said the purpose of the new law is to give individual school staff the opportunity to select the most qualified applicant for teaching positions in their school.

“This formalizes a process that we have asked teachers to engage in for many years,” he said.

Policy 5000 contains 11 criteria for hiring. The two that carry the most weight are the principal’s recommendation and the faculty senate’s recommendation. Other criteria to be considered include appropriate certification, licensure or both; experience relevant to the position; course work or degree level; specialized training; past performance evaluations; and seniority.

In other business, Campbell welcomed Debra Fike, the new executive secretary for the Tucker BOE, following the retirement of Teresa Simmons.

Campbell explained the Tucker school system is the only one in West Virginia where no schools are eligible for free breakfast and lunch through the Community Eligibility Option. To be eligible, schools must meet a minimum level of identified students for free meals in the county.Campbell said the level of identified students all exceed the minimum eligibility.

The next meeting of the Tucker County Board of Education is slated for 6 p.m. Aug. 5. Phares is slated to address the board at that time.