The School Committee took a step toward abolishing the "job fair" approach to filling teaching spots with the first reading of a new "personnel assignment policy" at a meeting Tuesday night.
"This has the potential to modify that whole program," said School Committee chair David Green. In the job fair, teachers and support staff bid on open positions, the job going to the bidder with the greatest seniority.
"The BEP [basic education plan] requires us to use student outcomes and needs as the primary determination" in filling teaching positions, Green said. The new policy doesn't mean seniority wouldn't be used in placements, only that it would no longer be the determining factor.
The BEP was revised in 2009 to include that change, but districts were not required to adopt the change until they negotiated a new teacher contract. For East Greenwich, the contract was originally due to be renewed in 2012, but the union gained a year's extension after the School Committee failed to file the necessary paperwork. It is now up in August.
The important new language in the policy is this:
"It is the policy of the East Greenwich School Committee that optimizing student learning shall be the primary criterion for all decision making regarding personnel recruitment, hiring, promotion, assignment and evaluation."
"This policy is significant," said Green. "Decisions by RIDE [the Rhode Island Department of Education] and the Board of Regents have the force of law."
EG Patch will be following up with the state and with the teachers union.