Houston & Peach

Revised teacher contracts penalizes ‘shoppers’

FORT VALLEY — Taking aim at “job-shoppers,” the Peach County Board of Education on Tuesday approved revised contracts for teachers beginning with the coming school year.

In a 3-1 vote, the board approved raising the penalty from $500 to $5,000 for teachers and other certified personnel buying out their contracts.

Superintendent Susan Clark said the practice of job shopping is an ongoing problem for the school system, where a candidate would sign a contract to teach in Peach County, then get a higher-paying position elsewhere, pay the $500 penalty and leave the system in a bind.

New board member Virginia Dixon, a former teacher and administrator, cast the sole dissenting vote, saying the amount “is a big jump” from the current practice.

The new contracts would allow for exemptions in the case of family emergencies, such as having to leave the system if a spouse is transferred out of the area, Clark said.In other action, the board elected Jody Usry as chairman and Jamie Johnson as vice chairman.