Big issues on horizon for Charleston County schools include Common Core, employee pay changes
Charleston County parents who are concerned or confused about the Common Core State Standards soon will have the chance to learn more about them.
And some Charleston County School District employees might see changes in their pay as a result of a new salary study.
Both issues came up this week during a school board meeting and workshop, and board members spent time discussing both.
The state Education Oversight Committee and the state Board of Education agreed three years ago to adopt Common Core, and opposition to that decision is increasing as the state approaches the 2014-15 school year, which is when it will fully implement and test the new standards. Opponents say using Common Core will allow the federal government to control state education.
About Common Core, the school board appeared united in its desire to provide more information to parents and community members about the new requirements for what kindergartners through 12th graders must learn in English and math. Board members disagreed about the best way to do that.
Some board members, such as Michael Miller, said it would be best if Chief Academic Officer Lisa Herring hosted community meetings in four geographic areas of the district to explain the effect the standards would have on students’ learning. Others, such as board Chairwoman Cindy Bohn Coats, said each school should do a presentation.
Superintendent Nancy McGinley told the board she already has directed principals to have question-and-answer sheets on the Common Core Standards available for distribution at parent gatherings, and the district office plans to distribute Herring’s presentation on Common Core to schools.
“There are many ways we are willing and able to support getting the information out,” McGinley said. “I just don’t want to see Dr. Herring or anyone getting dragged into a controversial meeting.”
Board member Chris Fraser suggested allowing the district administration to propose a way to effectively communicate the information, rather than the board deciding how to handle the situation. The board agreed to that plan.
On the salary study, the board heard a presentation by a compensation consulting firm, Fox Lawson & Associates based in Minnesota, on a review of the classification and compensation of the district’s roughly 5,500 employees. The last time the district did this kind of study was during the 2004-05 school year.
Fox Lawson presented broad findings, and it plans to return in November to offer more specifics on the positions and people who are affected by being paid too much or not enough.
The consultants found the overall difference between the district and market hourly pay rate put the district at 0.17 percent below the market, which is considered highly competitive. The biggest difference was in hourly maximum rates, where the district fell 8.25 percent below the market.
Officials estimated in May that it would cost $7.1 million to follow the recommendations of the study. No dollar figures were presented this week.
Reach Diette Courrégé Casey at @Diette on Twitter or (843) 937-5546.