HIRING DECISIONS CAUSE DEBATE FOR VCS
Elementary School Principal Christopher Bennett, whose name was not on the list, addressed the board, stating “Dr. Stroh is trying to get back at Dr. B (High School Principal Liz Balcerek) and I for disagreeing with her. If you agree, you keep your job. If you don’t, you get fired”, Bennett said. First Grade Teacher Mary Kathryn Ade addressed the board in support of Mr. Bennett. “With someone who has been so great to our school and our staff I don’t know why someone would not put him on that list”. Ade said she would like to know the reasons why Bennett’s contract was not recommended for renewal. When pressed for details, Stroh said “I put together a list of people I have confidence in for you to vote on and I’m presenting it for approval or disapproval tonight”.
Later in the meeting, Stroh asked for approval to hire a high school counselor and a few other positions that have become vacant. School Board Member Joe Prax and Alan Sorum were in support of letting Stroh do the hiring, saying they had recently lifted the hiring freeze and voted to give Stroh the authority to hire replacements for funded positions without waiting for Board approval. Board member Dolores Gard said she wanted to approve every position. Kathy Todd argued that the 2014-2015 budget was not final yet so all positions should be considered new and be brought to the board for approval. The Board did not vote on this issue because it was not an action item, did not come to consensus nor give direction.
A follow up e-mail to School Board President Anita Fannin Tuesday asking for clarification on when, how and who would handle the Administrator contracts was answered via e-mail, “Dr. Stroh will be involved in future discussions about administrator contracts. As to when that will happen, I have no idea but would presume and suggest it is on the next school board meeting which is after Spring Break”.
In order to find some clarity, KVAK found that Alaska State Statute AS 14.14.130 says, “If the district employs a chief school administrator, the administrator shall select, appoint and otherwise control all school district employees that serve under the chief school administrator subject to the approval of the school board”.
It would appear that the Superintendent presenting a list of District employees to re-hire has been tradition, but generally the administrators are on a separate list than the tenured teachers. Lance Bowie, who was VCS Superintendent from 2004 through 2009 said he used to present the list to the board in three parts: A tenured teacher list; List of Administration; and the list of non-tenured teachers.
While Bowie was Superintendent, the Board asked to pull two Administrators off the list against his recommendation. “At that point it becomes the employees responsibility to contest the decision.
Bowie said one of the employees who was taken off the list by the school board requested a public hearing on their dismissal. The School Board did not choose to have the public hearing and the employee retained their job. Another employee chose not to request a public hearing and did not retain their job. “The Valdez School Board’s job is to create policy. Administration’s to is to create procedures to carry it out”, Bowie said. “The only person the Board can evaluate is the Superintendent. They don’t have the credentials to evaluate teachers and principals”, he said. “If the School Board is going to hire employees for the School District, who are those employees going to be accountable to? Bowie took it a step further saying, “If that’s the case (School Board takes over hiring employees), the employee is working for the School Board and will come to them anytime something is not going their way. What is the chain of command? If you do it this way, you don’t need an administrator”.
While direction in Monday nights meeting was a bit confusing, Superintendent Stroh on Friday said she is looking to put together a team of dynamic people working toward quality education in Valdez. “We’ve got some quality educators in our district,” Stroh said. “Some of the best I’ve seen. We need to support these people and move forward academically as well as get kids connected with the school system. We need a common vision and we all need to work together. It’s going to take a lot of work to get there, but we can’t settle for anything less than the very best for our kids”.
DOUGLAS EVANS CHARGED WITH SEXUAL ASSAULT
VALDEZ - On February 21, 2014, the Valdez Police Department received the report of
possible sexual assault of a minor. A subsequent investigation determined that Douglas J. Evans (DOB 06.19.1968) was sexually assaulting an underage female. The victim disclosed that she had been sexually assaulted multiple times over the span of several years. Statements made by witnesses corroborate those of the victim. On March 1, 2014 the Valdez Police Department arrested Douglas J. Evans. Evans has been charged with 4 counts of Sexual Assault of a Minor in the 1st degree and 1 count of Sexual Assault of a Minor in the
1 is an unclassified felony. SAM 2 is a “B” felony. The Valdez PoliceDepartment considers this an ongoing investigation and expects further charges to be filed. Douglas J. Evans is currently jailed at the Valdez Jail Facility and has a bail amount of: NO BAIL
PWSCC PRESIDENT RESIGNS
The University of Alaska System has announced that PWSCC President Jacob Ng submitted his resignation effective Friday, February 21. Patrick Gamble, the University of Alaska System President has confirmed that Christopher Washko, PWSCC vice president of student learning and academic affairs will serve as acting president of PWSCC. CLICK HERE to read President Gamble’s statement.
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