- Associated Press - Monday, April 6, 2015

Jacksonville, Ark. (AP) - The superintendent for the Pulaski County Special school district is recommending separate seniority lists to manage where teachers in the special school district and the newly formed Jacksonville/North Pulaski school district could work.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (https://bit.ly/1y91QTQ ) reports Pulaski County Special school district employees in Jacksonville-area on the list would not be able to “bump” peers with less seniority for jobs in other parts of the district. Employees outside the Jacksonville-area would not be able to use their seniority to bump a current Jacksonville-area employee.

The proposal says “The intent of this provision is that a person assigned to one seniority center can exercise seniority only within the seniority center to which that person is assigned regardless of the purpose for exercising seniority.”

Superintendent Jerry Guess says the lists would minimize widespread staffing changes. Jacksonville-area employees would be able to apply for jobs in the new Jacksonville/North Pulaski district, which may not have the resources to match the salary and benefits that the Pulaski County Special district offers.

“What we are proposing is what we believe to be the most reasonable way to manage the detachment of the Jacksonville/North Pulaski in terms of staffing,” Guess said.

Pam Fitzgiven, the chairman for the Personnel Policies Committee for certified staff in the Pulaski County Special District says the committee objects to the dual lists proposal, and will advocate giving teachers the option to teach in the district of their choice.

Fitzgiven’s committee will present an alternative plan to the Community Advisory Board this month.

“There would be one seniority list, and the teachers in the 10 schools in Jacksonville would then be able to choose whether they want to stay in the Jacksonville schools or do a voluntary transfer to a Pulaski County Special district school, and vice versa,” Fitzgiven said.

According to Chief of Staff Phyllis Stewart, the proposals are those of the Pulaski County Special district and the issue is between that district and its employees. The new district has not taken a position in regards to the proposed policies.

Last November, the Arkansas Board of Education ordered the Jacksonville/North Pulaski School District to be carved out of the Pulaski County Special system after 95 percent of Jacksonville-area voters said they favored the creation of a new school district.

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Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, https://www.arkansasonline.com

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