Cosmetology program says goodbye

Published 8:00 am Thursday, May 9, 2024

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After their instructor retires at the end of this year, the cosmetology program will be leaving Inspire Academy, Chambers County School District’s Career and Technical Education center, and it likely won’t be the last.

“Right now, the cosmetology program is being eliminated because of the credentialing and the job force behind it,” said Dr. Casey Chambley, CCSD superintendent, during the meeting. “And so they are looking at not renewing the position when [Debra Peters] retires.” 

“We’re probably not finished looking at certain programs to cut at this time,” he added later in the meeting.

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Peters, an educator for the school district for 28 years, will be retiring at the end of this year. She along with 25 other retirees were recognized by the school board at Monday’s board meeting. With so many teachers and staff members leaving, the school board has many vacancies to fill.

Chambley said they have already begun filling positions and will continue to do so over the next few months. However, the cosmetology program will not be renewed next year.

“We look at top-paying jobs in the area, and then we also look at credentialing and being a Completer. Those are reasons that we will eliminate a program,” Chambley said. “Now there’s a lot of participation in the program. However, there’s not very many jobs in the program.”

Chambley’s explanation for eliminating the program was that there aren’t enough job opportunities for graduating students to justify the cost to the school board to keep the program running. 

At Inspire Academy, many of the instructors work in specialized fields and therefore need certifications, including cosmetology. As with most career tech programs, the school board looks at the local job market to see how lucrative a field is for students wishing to certify. 

“We have to start looking at teacher units and foundation units and other higher paying jobs that are available in the area and in the market,” Chambley said. “And the state level recommends that you offer the higher level of paying jobs, and so that one is not one of them.”

That, on top of the teacher units required to pay an instructor, adds additional obstacles for the school board when trying to find a replacement for the position. Chambley said the teacher units earned by the two high schools are also used to fill positions at the CTE. 

“If [Valley High] earn 27 Teacher units, and LaFayette High earned nine, out of those 27 and those nine, you must not only fill the positions at those two high schools with the core classes, but you also have to fill your CTE units with those as well,” Chambley said.