- Family Features
- Business Directory
- Gallery Of Homes
- Subscribe Now!
- Place A Classified Ad
- New! Digital e-Edition
Schools director not heard from Oneida district
Apr 13, 2004 12:00 am
Despite visiting an East Tennessee school system last week, Wilson County Director of Schools Dr. Jim Duncan hasn't received a job offer from Oneida Special School District.
"All I did was go talk to the people, and I haven't heard from them since," Duncan said Sunday afternoon. "I have nothing in terms of a firmness. No offer has been extended to me at this point. I've been on a interview with others that, that board is considering. I'll know when they know."
Wilson County Board of Education officials, however, voiced their concerns last week about possibly losing Duncan to OSSD since his contract with the county expires in December. School Board Chair Sonja Robinson said Thursday the board is not likely to start renegotiating with Duncan until after OSSD offers the job to one of its three finalists. Duncan is one of the top three picks for OSSD.
An Oneida official has verified it plans to fill the position by the end of April, making time a precious factor. Tennessee law mandates school boards must enter into new contracts with its school board director by June 21. School officials also can't enter into any contract negotiations 45 days before or 30 days after the county's Aug. 5 general election.
Last week, Zone 2 School Board member Lisa McMillin said the board is in a time crunch.
"It would be my desire to get (Duncan's) contract renegotiated as soon as possible," she said Wednesday. "I would hate to lose him. He's been very good to Wilson County."
McMillin and Zone 1 School Board member Wayne McNeese have said Duncan has been evasive when it has come to contract negotiations. They also said they are determined to meet the June 21 deadline.
Duncan said Sunday he is always open to talking about his contract and is "sure at a certain period of time" it will be discussed. He also confirmed the school board meets May 10 and can make decisions regarding the system in the public meeting.
Duncan also said he is "perfectly happy" serving Wilson County Schools, and the system still has goals to reach.
"Over the next five to 10 years, this system will change drastically with all the people coming in," he said.
Goals for the expanding schools system include 90 percent or more students reading on grade level by the third grade, 100 percent of seniors graduating in seven years based on national standards and teachers being high qualified.
"We have a lot of ambitious things the system needs to keep working toward," Duncan said.
The school director has also been a major advocate of decreasing the school system's dropout. Since he was hired, the dropout rate has steadily decreased. Duncan attributes part of the declining rate to the adult high school program and youth links.
"Certainly anytime you accomplish significant goals, it makes you realize how people can respond when you challenge them with those kinds of things," he said. " … I couldn't do it by myself. It's been a combination of those things. That's the excitement of being superintendent of this (school system) … It's never a one-person show."