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Troy finds challenges with finding music teacher

by Canda Harbaugh & Western News
| May 19, 2009 12:00 AM

With two of three applicants accepting jobs elsewhere, Troy Schools is scrambling to decide how to fill next year’s high school music teacher position.

“We haven’t had barely any applicants,” principal Jeff Ralston said during Monday’s School Board meeting. “That’s looking bleak right now.”

The district tries to secure its teachers as soon as possible because the later it offers a potential teacher a contract, the higher the risk of losing that teacher to another school. 

“We like to get our staff set definitely before school is out in June,” said Brady Selle, superintendent of schools. “We prefer to do it in May if we can.”

Some members of the school board demonstrated hesitation at April’s meeting to hire a young teacher to instruct high school-aged students, but the only candidate is fresh out of college and will be a first-year teacher.

“They have to start somewhere,” Selle said during an interview.

Summer vacation begins in three weeks and time is running out, so the district must decide whether to hire the current applicant or expand the hiring pool.  

“We may end up re-advertising,” Selle said on Tuesday. “I read in the paper today that thousands of teachers are being laid off in Washington. Maybe some would like to come this direction.”

In other news at Monday’s meeting:

• Lance Pearson, W.F. Morrison Elementary School principal, went forward with his plan to move music instruction into the general classroom and hire a full-time teacher to provide daily physical education classes. The board had already decided to move art into the general classroom next year, but when a search for a music and P.E. teacher combination did not yield many results, Pearson made the suggestion.

• The board, which consists of new members Connie Hand and Heather McDougall, re-elected Sylvia Maffit as chairperson, elected Keith Haggerty as vice chairperson and re-appointed Mary Brown as district clerk.

• The board hired a new elementary P.E. instructor and new classroom teacher, and voted in the sports and club coaches.

• Roy Richardson retired from his teaching position and will begin to draw retirement, but agreed to stay on part-time as the district’s technology coordinator. The board voted to have Richardson work 25-35 hours per week at $25 per hour.

• The board voted in support of a free breakfast and lunch program for children 18 and younger to run June 8-July 17. The federal funding for the program is allocated by the state.

• Selle addressed Ralston’s prior request for the district to raise meal reimbursement rates during travel to better reflect meal costs. Selle learned that the district’s policy calls for basing its rates on the current state per diem, so he recommended that the board follow the rule, which allows more reimbursement for out-of-state travel.

• The board discussed revising its eligibility plan for club and sport participation. The current policy calls for suspending a participant the entire season for a violation. Framers of the new policy expressed that they still want to punish students but also give them help and offer them a chance to redeem themselves.