For secondtime, school board discusses behavioral specialist hire

Position will be paid for without additional funding

Brett Sigurdson | The Charlotte News

CCS’s new administrative team has wasted little time in getting down to business.

Just over a month after starting, new lead principal Barbara Anne Komons-Montroll and instructional leader Stephanie Sumner asked the school board to consider hiring a full-time behavioral systems and response coordinator, something the school board met to discuss Aug. 6.

This is the second time the school board has considered the position this year. Former co-principals Greg Marino and Audrey Boutaugh requested the position during the budgeting process in January, though school board members ultimately denied the $46,700 request.

During budget discussions, Marino explained the position was necessary because the school was experiencing “an increase in intensity of student behaviors, and increase in complexity in the needs of some students and behaviors.” What’s more, CCS also has fewer full-time employees supporting students with behavioral issues than any school in CSSU, requiring the school to take a “platoon approach,” pulling teachers, administrators and counselors away from their primary responsibilities.

Student behavioral issues were given more clarity in May, when the school board received a report that showed since September 2014 CCS saw a 43-percent increase in referrals for behavioral issues. In the 2013-14 school year, the school saw a 16-percent uptick in referrals.

At the Aug. 6 School Board meeting, Komons-Montroll presented a decision packet that stated the position was needed to “meet the needs of the growing number of students with complex behavioral challenges,” while moving away from a potential over-reliance on paraeducators to meet behavioral challenges.

In the decision packet provided to the school board and four people at the meeting, Komons-Montroll noted the consequences of not approving the position will be continued strain on the system while not meeting the emotional needs of the students.

Making the expenditure perhaps easier for the school board to back this time, Komons-Montroll proposed paying for the $45,000 position without any additional, un-budgeted funding.

According to her decision packet, roughly $36,000 allocated in the 2015-16 budget is redundant or unnecessary. Roughly $18,000 was allotted for Common Core materials that the school already has. The other $18,000 was earmarked for an unnecessary training expense. The final $9,000 would be saved from the resignation of a Spanish teacher.

The board did not take action on hiring the position at the Aug. 6 meeting. It will meet on Aug. 14 at 7:30 a.m. at CCS to vote on the matter.