BAKER — The elimination of six jobs and one transfer of duties in the Baker school district caused dissention during the School Board’s meeting Tuesday.
Superintendent Ulysses Joseph explained some of the eliminated positions were vacant while others amounted to layoffs.
“I’ve been hearing about this at church, at the gym and at the beauty salon,” board member Doris Alexander said. “I think the people who are going to lose their jobs should find out before the rest of the community.”
Board member Troy Watson asked whether other options, such as furloughs, had been considered.
“Just the other day, I talked to an employee that this was going to happen to and that person agreed to consider taking a lesser position,” Joseph said.
Watson made a motion to approve the personnel recommendations with the exception of the eliminated positions. Alexander voted for the motion.
Board President Elaine Davis and board members Shona Boxie and Dana Carpenter opposed.
Carpenter countered with a motion to approve all the personnel recommendations, which passed
3-2. Boxie, Davis and Carpenter voted in favor of approval with Watson and Alexander casting the dissenting votes.
The board went on to table a recommendation to transfer the athletic director’s duties at Baker High School performed by Gary Mitchell to Baker High’s vacant head football coaching post.
Robert Raines, who had been Baker’s football coach, turned in his resignation Monday.
Watson, Boxie and Carpenter voted in favor of putting off action on the item until a new head football coach is hired. Alexander and Davis opposed the motion.
At the meeting, Mitchell detailed his accomplishments during the 2½ years he has served as athletic director, including coordinating facilities improvements, promoting girls athletics and building an organization allowing nonathletes to participate in sports programs.
“Who made this decision?” Alexander asked. “Why are we transferring his duties?”
The question went unanswered.
In June, Mitchell was allowed to remain as athletic director on the condition he return to the classroom without any additional pay. He teaches three classes in addition to coordinating the athletic program.