Taxpayers in South Carolina’s second-largest school district are stuck paying the bill for teacher appeal hearings that are being held up by the Charleston County School Board.
The Post and Courier newspaper reports the district has spent almost $650,000 over the past three years because of long waits in hearing state-ordered appeals for 15 teachers whose contacts were not renewed.
That caused the school board to vote this week to maintain the use of third-party hearing officers to stand in for those board members who cannot make to hearings during the appeals process.
A majority of the nine-member school board must be present to review the appeals. Due to schedules, months have often passed before the right number of members could meet at the same time. Board members get their standard $25 per-meeting for the hearings that can take several hours.
A few teachers had to wait almost two years to have their appeals heard. As a result, about $485,000 goes to pay the teachers as if they were still working. The third-party method of hearing appeals involves attorneys charging an hourly rate, but the school, board says using this was saves money because it speeds up the process.