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Warren to add Title I teacher

By M.K. Luther - mkluther@nvdaily.com

FRONT ROYAL -- The Warren County School Board on Thursday approved the addition of a Title I teaching position at one elementary school.

This year, the A.S. Rhodes Elementary Title I program has been using an instructional assistant and not a full-time teacher, said Greg Drescher, assistant superintendent for instruction.

Drescher requested that the board change the position to a full-time Title I teaching position and do away with the instructional assistant position.

The current employee has completed the required teaching certifications, has a teaching license and is capable of taking over the teaching position, Drescher said.

The A.S. Rhodes principal and Title I coordinator have also recommended the employee take over the full-time teaching position, Drescher said.

The cost to the school system will be the difference between the cost of a current instructional assistant and a teacher position for the rest of the year, and will not be more than $10,145.58, Drescher said.

The school system received more Title I funding from the state than originally projected, Drescher said, and now has a balance $57,700 greater than first budgeted.

"And the way Title I funding works is that even though we don't know exactly what we are going to get the following year, it cannot be reduced anymore than 15 percent, so there will the dollars there the following year," Drescher said.

The teaching position salary would be paid for from the budget excess, which must be used for Title I funding, resources and materials, Drescher said.

A regular full-time, first-year teacher salary would be slightly more than $37,000, Superintendent Pamela McInnis said. By upgrading the employee, who has several years of experience as an instructional assistant, the school system is saving on the cost of a new teacher salary.

An instructional assistant salary with benefits is about $18,000, Director of Finance Robert Ballentine said. A base-level experience -- or new -- teacher salary with benefits would cost close to $50,000 a year.

Board Vice Chairwoman Joanne Cherefko asked if the program needed another teacher or if the change was in response to the current school employee completing a teaching degree.

Drescher said the current employee already has been fulfilling the majority of the duties of a full-time Title I teacher.

The school had added an assistant's position instead of a teacher's position only because of the tight budget year.

"We need another teacher," Drescher said. "We opened with only an instructional assistant at this school because of funding for this year and it was a brand-new school opening," Drescher said.

"I think that it is great that we are able to promote from within," board member Jim Wells said.

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