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Two different Cumberland County Board of Education committees met last night to discuss the director of schools evaluation and contract. The Director of Schools Evaluation Committee convened first. The committee is made up of Robert Safdie, Jim Inman and Stace Karge.

Inman suggested a teacher and staff survey be performed regarding the director of schools, Janet Graham, to find out exactly what the morale problem is in the system.

The survey would include numerous areas to be determined and would be a comprehensive look at the director of schools instead of one poll with a yes or no answer.

Karge said a recent social media poll posted by a man asking if the director of schools contract should be renewed or not was not fair and was rude. “It should be a complex survey to see how to better serve the schools,” said Karge.

The sample questions that teachers and staff would respond to in the director of schools survey deals with goals, morale, professional learning, working with others, accountability, respect and strengths to name a few.

Once the Cumberland County Board of Education develops the questions for the survey, it will be sent to the TSBA (Tennessee School Board Association) where they will administer the survey to the teachers and staff online. This will ensure security and privacy in ones taking the survey. The results would then be sent back to the Cumberland County Board of Education for their consideration.

The evaluation committee will meet again November 18, 2019 to discuss the matter further.

The second group, the Director of Schools Contract Committee, met immediately following the evaluation committee. The contract committee is made up of Teresa Boston, Tom Netherton, Robert Safdie, Stace Karge and Jim Inman.

The Cumberland County Board of Education at a previous meeting voted to reject a new three year contract for Graham and sent the contract back to this committee for further discussion.

Safdie started off saying a small paragraph in the contract needed to be removed because it also falls under the ethics policies of the school system. It was removed by the committee. Safdie also commented the school board needed to “get it together” in the preparation of the evaluation of Graham.

Inman brought up one paragraph in the contract that deals with the school system paying for Graham’s membership in the Tennessee Organization of School Superintendents. “If we are paying her just over $100,000 a year ($109,778), I feel we do not need to pay her dues for membership,” said Inman. Safdie responded in saying it is a professional membership that is part of the job and should be covered.

Then came the discussion about how many years a new contract for Graham should be for.

School board member Rebecca Hamby, who was in attendance, suggested to the committee it needed to be a 2 year contract. “A one year contract is simply not long enough,” said Hamby.

Netherton said a full board meeting is the place to discuss how many years the contract is for and not a committee meeting.

Teresa Boston then made a motion to send the contract back to the school board for their consideration and vote at their next meeting in December. The school board then could talk about how many years the contract would be for. The motion received a second from Safdie. It passed 3-1 with Karge casting the only no vote.

Should the board not pass the contract in their meeting on December 5, 2020, the committee agreed they will need at least 6 months to have time to find a new director of schools. If that is the case, the board would have to pass it no later than the January 2020 meeting for that time table to be in place.

Graham’s contract is set to expire June 20, 2020.

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