Recommendations offered to improve minority hiring

Published 2:17 pm Wednesday, November 28, 2007

By Staff
Money at the center of the problem, says school-board member
Senior Reporter
The Beaufort County Board of Education was presented eight recommendations regarding the hiring of minority teachers during its meeting Monday.
The board listened to the suggestions but did not act on them.
Eltha Booth, a board member and chairwoman of the board’s Minority Hiring Practice Committee, reviewed those recommendations with the school board. Other committee members are Joe Boston, Joneice Carroll, Archie Harding, Cynthia Heath, Glenora Jennette, Dianne Lee, Anthony Northern, William O’Pharrow and Leon Whitney.
The committee made the following recommendations:
Board Chairman Robert Belcher said the recommendations “look good,” adding that any money needed to implement any of the suggestions would have to be approved by the board.
There seems to be “a decline across the state” in hiring teachers, whether they are black or white, said board member William Warren.
Warren asked why such a hiring situation happens “year after year.”
Teaching is “a noble profession, but I’m a teacher and I’m not sure if I would be a teacher today,” White said.
In a related matter, the board unanimously accepted a resolution adopted by the Beaufort County Board of Commissioners. The resolution addresses the lack of diversity among school staff.
At the commissioners’ Oct. 8 meeting, Commissioner Jerry Langley spoke about the lack of diversity among the school system’s faculty.
The commissioners adopted a resolution stating the commissioners want the school board members to be “committed to a policy to address the issue of lack of diversity among their recruiting, hiring, training and promoting qualified people of color to achieve a more diverse and qualified work force throughout” the school system.
School board Vice Chairman F. Mac Hodges said the county’s school system “should look at what other systems are doing.”
Board member Cindy Winstead said the school system must do something “to attract new teachers and retain them.”
Schools Superintendent Jeffery Moss said all schools in the state should “try to ignite people to become teachers.”
It would be ideal “to grow our own teachers from within” the school system, said Belcher.
In other business, the board voted to postpone indefinitely its approval of House Bill 1740, the School Board Fiscal Accountability Act, which would give the school board the power to levy a tax to provide money for the school system.
Belcher said he believes the act would result in people seeking seats on the school board “to make money” for the schools instead of working for the “best interests of the children.”
Belcher said having taxing authority would “probably make the board political.” The school board is “supposed to be nonpartisan,” he said.
White agreed with Belcher.
Warren said having the power to tax “would assign more responsibility to the board,” something he believes is not attractive to the board.