Territorial Tenure

Displaced tenured teachers from Austin East and Fulton may bump non-tenured ones at other schools

The nail-biting has begun. Fifty-four teachers at Austin East and 44 at Fulton were offered their old jobs back during the reapplication process that concluded last week. Knox County Schools Human Resources now knows how many tenured teachers weren't rehired for their old positions: two at AE, 14 from Fulton. That means KCS is duty bound to place them somewhere in a county school, even if a non-tenured faculty member has to be ousted.

KCS HR also accounts for eight non-tenured teachers at AE and five from Fulton who weren't offered their old jobs. They may find spots elsewhere in the system, "but no guarantees," says KCS spokesman Russ Oaks.

The idea is for principals system-wide with appropriate positions to hire the displaced tenured teachers into the vacancies, but only if the principal sees fit. Interviews for that are in progress. And the system will not be creating jobs for anyone left over. "If HR needs to make a placement for a tenured teacher and a non-tenured teacher occupies a suitable spot, it could mean they get bumped," says Oaks.

Oaks also confirmed that the final hiring numbers at the "reconstituting" schools will be a few short of the 77 certified teachers at AE and the 80 at Fulton who were in place when the reapplications began. Two at Austin East lost their jobs to program cuts, and four at Fulton (no word on how many were tenured). "Those positions have been eliminated," says Oaks.

For the math fans for whom the numbers aren't adding up, the missing link is the six teachers at Fulton and nine at AE who did not apply to return, one from AE and six from Fulton (Hardin Valley, here we come?) who had previously been granted transfers within the system, and one at each school who had retired.

But that still leaves plenty of people scrambling with just days left on the 2007-2008 teacher calendar. In the past, such reconstituting has never resulted in a bump that Oaks is aware of. "One thing that helps us immensely is that we have turnover of 250-350 teachers every year," he says. "But everyone that's tenured has to be in a position for which they are certified."