CCSD hires new coaches, discusses competitive salary for employees

Published 11:00 am Saturday, July 10, 2021

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During Wednesday’s meeting, the Chambers County School Board approved five pages of routine personnel changes, which included the hiring of a new baseball coach at Valley High School, a new basketball coach at LaFayette High School and four new assistant principals at Valley and LaFayette High Schools and W.F. Burns and J.P. Powell Middle Schools.

Wendy Robinson will become one of the two assistant principals at Valley High School, joining Jeff Banks, who took over the job once Superintendent Casey Chambley took office in December. Wendy Johnson is the new assistant principal at W.F. Burns. In LaFayette, Michael Patillo will move from LaFayette High School to J.P. Powell, taking the same job of assistant principal while Kimberly Wiggins will replace Patillo as the assistant principal at LaFayette High School.

A large number of routine personal changes has been a common occurrence in the past four months, as teachers have taken different jobs, some teachers have been relieved of duties or the CCSD has moved teachers to other schools, all of which need to be approved by the school board.

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“A lot of these moves are moving pieces from one thing moving to another. A lot of our employees have accepted positions as interventionists, which opens up their positions, and we’ve hired some of those positions,” Chambley said. “There are several positions that are still open, there’s one at Langdale [Elementary], two at Eastside and one at Valley High. Those are the teaching positions that are still open.

“All the other school systems are in the same position and we’re all jockeying for position and trying to recruit and hire teachers. We’re in competition for these folks. Other people are offering things and they’re taking jobs. If some of our teachers don’t get an administrative position that they want, they look elsewhere and it is offered to them, they’re going to take it. It’s the nature of the business.”

Board member Jay Siggers asked if employees were getting more incentives if they were to leave the CCSD and join a different school system.

Chambley informed the board that the CCSD central office had been talking about staff incentives and they had been working on new salary schedules, which the board members should receive early next week.

“We have been looking at salary schedules and needing to make adjustments,” Chambley said. “Mrs. [Cassandra] Allen, myself and other members of the office have been looking at this for about three months. We have looked at salary schedules from different four of the surrounding school systems and compared support staff, teachers, coaching supplements, bus drivers to see where we fall. We have found that we fall at the bottom for most of them, not all of them, but most of our salary schedules are lower than many of the surrounding counties.”

Some of the larger surrounding school systems, like Auburn City Schools, have a larger tax income than Chambers County, which makes it harder to compete for some supplements.

Chambley also said the central office has been looking to extend the salary schedule. The current CCSD salary schedule stops after 10 years, meaning employees were not eligible for raises after the 10th year of working in the CCSD.

“Unless the state gave a bonus, there were no step raises. Our salary schedule on most of those items stopped at the nine or 10-year mark,” Chambley said. “After you reached that step, there were no other steps. Mrs. Allen and Mrs. [Cookie] Thomas have worked really hard to extend those out to 26 years. Some of our step raises, there were raises of 7 cents a year. Seven cents. So you could work 10 years and not get a dollar raise. We’re making adjustments to those … Money runs our lives, and people need it to live. Our employees need it too. They need those bonuses and raises. If someone can pay you more to do the same job, a lot of times, you’re going to look to those things. We have to figure out ways to keep our good employees.”