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School looking to fill 16 vacant positions


scrapper-starNASHVILLE – Schools officials hope to fill most of the district’s 16 job openings within the next several weeks, Superintendent Doug Graham told the local board of education Monday during their regular meeting.

The announcement came after the board accepted another round of resignations, including those of assistant football and head softball coach Paul Ernest and primary teachers Karen Teeter and Stacy Bright. They also approved the transfer of assistant football coach Jerry Baker to a position teaching junior high civics.

Combined with a large number of teachers who announced their retirement the past two months, the resignations leave the school in need of, among other things, six primary teachers, a softball coach, two football assistants, a high school social studies teacher and a high school math teacher. Graham said most of those positions will be filled at a special meeting tentatively set for April 6, when the board also plans to address their 2014-15 audit.

At Monday’s meeting, board members made a handful of early hires, including those of LEA supervisor Ladonna Curtis, primary secretary Ashley Hale, primary counselor Christy Young and elementary custodian Delford Traylor.

In unrelated business, Graham presented the board with a slate of proposed or enacted legislation that he said will likely affect the district, chief among which was the hotly-debated school privatization bill entitled HB 1733.

Opposed by the groups ranging from the Arkansas Educators Association and Arkansas School Board Association to the Citizens First Congress and the Arkansas Rural Education Association, the bill would allow privately-held nonprofit corporations to take over public schools which are classified as being in fiscal or academic distress.

Although it is primarily targeted at the troubled Little Rock School District, which the Walton Foundation-backed education corporation Forward Arkansas has sought to commandeer, Graham also expressed local opposition to the measure, presenting board members with an open letter from a number of opposing groups speaking against the bill.

“It never attracts me when they try to take the public out of public education,” he said.

Worries over what the bill might do proved to be for naught Tuesday, as the proposal was withdrawn by its sponsor, Rep. Bruce Cozart, of Hot Springs, in the state’s House Education Committee.

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