Disservice to support staff
Published 5:04 pm Tuesday, December 21, 2021
Editor, The Smithfield Times:
I attended the Dec. 9 Isle of Wight County School Board meeting and spoke against the revisions of the Support Staff Grievance Policy (GBMA) that was on the agenda.
This revision removed support staff employees’ grievance rights for reprimands, counseling and evaluations, as well as limited the School Board’s ability to find objective truth during any appeal.
When the board approved the revised Support Staff Grievance Policy (GBMA), it abdicated much of its authority to the superintendent. As a result, support staff employees cannot formally complain about any adverse actions, which could result in a demotion or dismissal, except for a demotion or dismissal.
They gave the superintendent full control of all demotions and dismissals, including appeals to the School Board, which is particularly concerning. While initial hearings and appeals up to the superintendent are in person, all appeals to the School Board are, as the policy specifically states, decided “on the record.”
My intent with this letter is not to diminish any board member’s character but to bring attention to the fact that the School Board’s processes are inadequate in today’s environment. Our school system, and everyone it involves, can no longer be subject to the whims of an individual’s “good ideas,” but every dollar we spend, every policy we write and every regulation we implement must be thought out, using the critical-thinking skills that we want our children to emulate.
Finally, I want to thank the men and women of Carrsville District for placing your trust in me to serve on your School Board. I am looking forward to being seated in January and working on your behalf along with the rest of this new School Board. I will work hard to produce a much better policy concerning Support Staff Grievance Policy, along with other policies needed to make Isle of Wight County the best place to live, work, go to school and retire in Virginia.
Have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
John W. Collick Jr.