New Albany News

Former teacher questions new hire


Former New Albany High School French teacher Beckett Witt told the New Albany-Plain Local school board July 29 that the district is ready to hire a teacher who does not have the required licensure.

District officials said the teacher was expected to be qualified by the beginning of the school year.

A letter written by Superintendent April Domine and sent to Witt following the meeting said: "While the majority of our newly hired teachers are experienced teachers, it is permissible for districts to recommend new teachers for employment while they are still finishing up their licensure requirements. There is nothing inappropriate or unethical about this process. The district can offer such a candidate a teaching position, with the understanding that licensure requirements must be met prior to the start of the school year."

Witt said she was let go at the end of the 2010-11 school year as part of a "reduction in force" in the teachers' contract, signed by the Plain Local Education Association.

Marilyn Troyer, the district's chief of innovation, improvement and human capital, said the district eliminated Witt's position because attendance in French classes was declining.

"There were not enough classes to employ the number of teachers we had," Troyer said.

Troyer said as part of the contract, Witt retains recall rights if the same position opens and she is eligible to apply for any other open positions.

Troyer said Witt did apply for another part-time position with the district, which is not the same as the one she left. Because it is not the same position, the district was not required by the contract to recall her.

Troyer said Witt interviewed with other candidates for the position and the administration recommended the district hire Debra Fruth to teach the class.

Fruth's one-year contract for $33,960 was unanimously approved by the board July 29.

Troyer said Fruth's teaching license is pending and she expects Fruth to have her license and have met the highly qualified teaching status by the start of the school year.