Money sought for 'Speak Out' recommendations

February 20, 1997


Staff Writer

CLEAR SPRING - School system administrators are trying to put a price tag on improvement priorities voiced last month by teachers and classified employees at "Speak Out" meetings with the Washington County Board of Education.

Andrew McMahon, assistant superintendent for administrative services, told the board Tuesday night that staff members are figuring out what it would cost to implement a variety of improvement ideas.

Based on the two meetings, three main employee priorities seem to be improving communication, boosting morale and maximizing professionalism, McMahon said.


Salary increases are an obvious way to boost morale, said McMahon, who said raises are the biggest priority for all employee groups.

Morale won't stay up unless other changes accompany the pay raises, he said.

Improving working conditions - for example, making parking lots safer for bus drivers by improving lighting - is one way.

Another approach would be to evaluate what each employee does and then figure out ways to maximize the use of their time.

Many of the school system's highly trained employees are loaded down with tasks that could be done by "dumb machines," he said.

"We want to work smarter, not harder," said McMahon. He said other solutions might include redistributing work, altering a job classification to reflect what the employee does and extending an employment contract from 10 months to 12 months.

Improved communication also would boost morale, he said.

The Speak Out meetings themselves have proven a smart step in bettering communication within the school system, school board members said.

Board President B. Marie Byers said the meetings foster mutual respect.

Byers said she would like to see Speak Out meetings become a regular feature on the school system's calendar.

Meetings could be held three times a year - in October, January and May, she said.

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