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News Education School system hires 33; 27 more to go

After securing additional funds from the county, the Macon County Board of Education voted last Wednesday night to unanimously approve the hiring of 33 employees for positions that had become open through resignations, retirements, or lay-offs due to budget constraints.

When the district began advertising the vacant positions, a total of 60 positions were available. Thirty-one of those open positions were those that became vacant in May due to the lay-offs.

Although 33 positions have been filled at this point, the search to fill 27 open positions will continue with interviews with possible candidates who will be considered at the July 22 school board meeting.

"I am happy that my first official move as the new superintendent is to recommend the hiring of these 33 employees at this time," said Superintendent Dr. Chris Baldwin. "We will have more names to bring before the board in July."

In June, Macon County commissioners allocated $220,000 in funds to the school system to be used to rehire 31 teachers that were previously laid off due to a budget shortfall. Several of the 33 positions that were filled last Wednesday were positions held by some of the 31 employees that had been previously laid off. Other positions that had become vacant through resignations and retirements were also filled.

The 27 positions still up for grabs include elementary and secondary grade teachers and administrative positions. Cartoogechaye Elementary is in search of a principal and a lead teacher, a media coordinator, and two teacher positions. East Franklin has an opening for one teacher while Franklin High School has five teaching positions in various subject areas. Highlands has one vacancy for a middle school social studies teacher while Iotla Valley has a custodian and an exceptional child transportation safety assistant position. Macon Middle School is looking for a choral music teacher, an exceptional child teacher and two math/science teachers. Mountain View Intermediate is looking for a choral music teacher as well as a lead teacher. Union Academy has openings for an exceptional child teacher and three high school teachers for math, science and social studies. District-wide, Macon County Schools is hiring for an exceptional child teacher and an exceptional child teacher assistant.

During Tuesday night's county commissioner meeting, the board of commissioners formally approved allowing the school board to use the county's two percent supplement allocation for other needs within the district's current budget. The monies are not intended to be used to balance the county's current expenses, but instead to provide funds that have diminished due to state and federal budget cuts.

County Manager Jack Horton informed commissioners that while the school board will have the flexibility to use the funds, which total about $440,000, for other areas of the budget, the district will first have to request permission from the county to use the money and explain where and how the supplement money will be used.

Under the new leadership of first-time Superintended Dr. Chris Baldwin, the school board is charged with the task of closely managing the budget over the next year and taking a proactive approach to avoid lay-offs again next year.


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