Orange teachers comment over low evaluations

- A new pilot program that allows people to publicly comment before the Orange County School Board during its monthly meetings has gotten off to a bit of a rocky start.  Topics brought up during Tuesday's meeting ranged from legal settlements to teacher evaluations. 

Several Orange County teachers and union leaders expressed frustration with the district's evaluation system.  "There is nothing in the flawed evaluation system to be proud of," said speaker Luke Flynt.  Many are concerned that so few teachers received the highest possible rating last year which represented a 2.4 percent drop from the previous year. 

School Board Chairman Bill Sublette asked Superintendent Barbara Jenkins to explain why so few teachers received the top rating. He expected administrators to come up with the data from larger counties. "I'd like that in writing as well," he said, "so I have a public record that I can distribute to the media and to the union and to anybody else who's concerned about those issues."  Jenkins did not give that report, but Sublette said she would do so at the next board meeting.  

The discussion over the new public comment pilot program created some tense moments between Sublette and Board Member Kat Gordon. At one point, the two exchanged heated words and it appeared the meeting would be adjourned. "It's very clear that the School Board is finding it difficult to get accurate information from the administration, and they wound up fighting against themselves, so it was really a dramatic meeting," explained Doug Head, Co-Chair County Watch.

There will be two more public comment opportunities taking place until the end of April.

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