We held a board meeting on March 8th. You can view the meeting here (on the Richland One website) or here (on YouTube).
The agenda mostly listed various contracts that we approved. We also addressed the mask mandate. There’s no point in trying to reconstruct how we ended up where we are, but the district now has a mask optional policy.
During the March 8th meeting, I was told there were 105 teacher openings. As of today, March 18th, there are 127. This year is not typical, and it’s time for more drastic measures.
I tried to get more specifics on what the administration is doing to speak directly with teachers about what they need to feel comfortable signing a contract to return next year. That conversation begins at about the 28:00 minute mark, and I would encourage you to listen to it. I’ll let you decide whether I received actual answers to my questions.
I remain concerned that we aren’t doing enough, and it’ll be too late soon—i.e. when contracts come back in a matter of weeks. For example, we still have federal stimulus funds which could be used to hire additional support staff to address some of the concerns I hear from teachers all the time. I simply do not understand why we aren’t discussing solutions like that.