Counselors get more time to finish work

Published 11:32 pm Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Selma City School counselors will have more days to complete their work following a decision made Thursday by the leader of the state intervention.

Acting Selma Superintendent of Education Larry DiChiara announced his decision to change the contracts of district school counselors, which he made during a July school board meeting. The modifications were designed to allow employees more time to work before and after the school year.

“We are raising the expectation on a lot of folks,” DiChiara said. “We expect better. It’s what I call a standard of excellence, and we have to do better ourselves by putting them in a position to be successful.”

Email newsletter signup

Contracts for each elementary school counselor on nine-month contract will be extended to nine and half months

Contracts for middle school counselors will remain at 10 months with 10 additional days both before and after the school year. If needed, counselors are able to adjust the time when they work those extra days.

The 10-month contracts applied to high school counselors will now be 12-month contracts.

“I never been in a school district where high school counselors are not on 12-month contracts,” DiChiara said. “I think we need to get with the times really and get them 12-month contracts, because there is plenty of work to be done.”

DiChiara addressed concerns raised by board member Udo Ufomadu about how some counselors might react to the change.

He said he determined the appropriate time based on the duties of each counselor

“It’s like their level of their responsibility go up as the grade up,” DiChiara said.

The Alabama Department of Education Foundation Program provides money to fund counseling-related operations for a limited amount of months, according to DiChiara. Local schools are responsible for funding all other counselor costs.

DiChiara said many of the Selma City School counselors were recently shifted from a part-time to a full-time status with the system.

Therefore, at least half of their salary is eligible to be funded by Title I Funds.

Since the Head Start Program and the Office of School Readiness will be involved in the Byrd First-Class Early Learning Center operations, the board is expecting an additional total between $750,000 and $800, 000 will be free to use for local needs.

The system is now collecting profits from 51 percent of half-cent sales tax revenue.

“This counselor change will help our people be successful and provide our kids and schools a better service,” DiChiara said. “Sometimes, to get that, you have to pay for it.”