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PCSSD holds teacher hearings | News

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PCSSD holds teacher hearings
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MAUMELLE, Ark. (KTHV) -- Teachers gathered inside the Maumelle High School auditorium Tuesday to give their school district a piece of their mind. Five hundred teachers issued grievances with the Pulaski County Special School District.

Not as many people showed up Tuesday as expected. After the state took over the district and then withdrew recognition of the teacher and staff unions it sparked a lot of teacher complaints. Individual hearings would have been near impossible. So, the district decided to hold one mass meeting to confront the issues.

School is out, but teachers are back for at least one night at Maumelle High School. They have a chance to voice their concerns after parts of their contracts were not renewed.

"They have taken two days from us. We are not so much worried about the money as we are about the fact those were records days and work on our classroom," says Oakbrooke Elementary teacher Pam Fitzgiven.

Fitzgiven says the district was supposed to cut the budget, but teachers argue the way Superintendent Doctor Jerry Guess went about it was illegal.

"When a school district recognizes a union and negotiated with the union, then there cannot be another committee that can formulate personnel policies or negotiate," says Fitzgiven.

The union attorney for PACT, Mark Burnett grilled Doctor Guess on this issue of creating a committee rather than listening to the union.

"The organization of the school district was conducted by the teachers and I simply fleshed out the committee that I was allowed to appoint," says Dr. Guess.

Former teacher and union member Patti Stigall says district administrators haven't tried to negotiate and this hearing doesn't appear to be going anywhere.

"I think their minds are already made up because they don't seem willing to listen," says Patti Stigall.

Doctor Guess says his administration has to fill nearly 200 positions by the upcoming school year. He says many have retired or quit after he decided to get rid of severance pay.

"We tried for months to reach an acceptable position with PACT and PASS," says Dr. Guess.

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