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School board candidates to meet voters

Posted: Friday, Oct 12th, 2012

Photo/ Allen Thayer - Grady Hutcherson, a teacher at Lincoln Elementary in Torrington, and Kathy Vetter, Wyoming Education Association president, participate in a Goshen County Education Association meeting on Tuesday at Trail Elementary in Torrington.

TORRINGTON – Members of the Goshen County Education Association met Tuesday at Trail Elementary to finalize details for the upcoming School Board Candidates Public Forum.

The two-hour forum organized by the GCEA is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 17 in the Torrington High School Auditorium.

Voters will be given the opportunity to meet all 16 candidates at one time. They are vying for five seats on the nine-member nonpartisan Goshen County School Board.

Due to the number of candidates, they will each give the audience a one-minute introduction. Candidates will then answer three questions.

Questions submitted by the audience will then be chosen to be asked by the moderator if time permits. A timekeeper will limit candidates’ responses to each question to one minute.

Becky Nighswonger, GCEA president, also sought suggestions from members about how to increase membership.

“It seems we try to some things and don’t get a turnout,” she said.

Grady Hutcherson, Lincoln Elementary teacher, said job insecurity affects some teachers following last year’s evaluations.

“The eyes are on those people,” he said, referring specifically to teachers at Torrington Middle School and Torrington High School.

Implementation of the evaluation policy took place last year. One point of contention is teachers at various schools did not receive the same number of evaluations. TMS teachers had as many as 10 evaluations, while THS teachers had just one.

“That’s a statewide concern – administrators doing it differently,” said Doug Holt, UniServe director.

Hutcherson said the select committee is working on a new evaluation. Ray Schulte, GCSD superintendent, recently reconvened the evaluation committee.

“The committee is going to meet again and look at policies from other districts,” Hutcherson said.

“They’re frustrated,” Mary Perkins, THS library media specialist, said of teachers who feel ‘I’m paying all these dues and I might be gone after one year.’”

If a teacher gets a low score on any component two years in a row, that provides grounds for remediation and possible termination.

“We need something that comes from our district,” Nighswonger said. “(Teachers) just need that information. Here’s what’s going on, but things could change.”

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