The new elementary school in Jessamine County will be a new building with a new name, but it will not create any new students or any new classroom teachers.
That was the message Paul Hamann emphasized as he presented the plan for staffing the new school to the board Monday night. Hamann retired as chief operating officer in June and was brought in as a consultant to assist in developing the procedure.
Since each elementary school will essentially lose some of its attendance to the new school under the redistricting that goes into effect next fall, each school will also lose a proportional number of teachers to the new school.
“Staff will follow students, so however many students are transferred from a school — like if a school loses 100 students, they have to lose that equivalent number of teachers, which would be about four teachers,” Hamann said.
Hamann said it was essential not to add any net classroom-teaching positions across the district since there would be no additional money to pay for such positions.
Each school’s quota of positions transferred to the new school will be filled voluntarily by teachers who have continuing contracts. If more than enough teachers volunteer, the decisions fall to principal Andi McNeal, who is currently in her 12th year as principal at Wilmore Elementary, since no school council would be in place.
“Andi will make all the calls for the new elementary school in terms of staffing arrangements, whether she’s going to have every class graded one through five — she makes all those decisions with no council to make those decisions for her,” Hamann said.
If not enough teachers volunteer, the first step would be transferring vacancies due to retirement or resignation. If that did not fill enough positions, limited-contract teachers would be pink-slipped and those vacancies transferred. If those steps don’t fill the quota, tenured teachers would be involuntarily transferred.
“That’s really a remote (chance),” Hamann said.
The few new positions at the school apart from the principal will include specials teachers — art, music, physical education — as well as counselor, library media specialist, secretary, bookkeeper
and assistant principals. Those could be filled by internal or external applicants.
Superintendent Lu Young pointed out that each part of the process was already a procedure in place and that they had merely been brought all together to create a standard method for staffing the new school.
“It’s not 500 new kids and 22 new positions; it’s 500 shifted kids and 22 shifted positions,” she said.
The new elementary school is located off Union Mill Road next to East Jessamine Middle School. It has not yet been named — that task is one of the first for McNeal in her new position. Officials hope to have a new principal hired for Wilmore Elementary by spring break.
Board member Hallie Bandy said she wished communication about the new staffing plan had been done before McNeal was named the new principal and rumors had the chance to start.
“From what I’m hearing, you’re behind the rumor mill,” Bandy said. “It’s flying out there. In the future, I’d probably say this should have been done before you named the principal — Wilmore is in a tizzy.”
Young said the process had been made known to teachers and Hamann would be visiting each school after winter break to make a formal presentation. She also said a letter would be going to elementary-school parents in January informing them of their children’s attendance areas for the upcoming school year.
Editor’s note: Staff writer Benjamin S. Rossi contributed to this story.