School Board member says cast a wider net - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

School Board member says cast a wider net

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Dougherty County School Board member Carol Tharin Dougherty County School Board member Carol Tharin
School Board Attorney Tommy Coleman School Board Attorney Tommy Coleman

A Dougherty County School Board member is concerned that too many school system employees are related to each other.

Carol Tharin says the school system needs to expand the circle of the employees they are hiring. She also wants school administrators to limit promoting from within and look outside for new people and new ideas.

Tharin says too much of the hiring and promoting is based on who you know, and who you are related to. She says it needs to change to improve the students' education.

Tharin says the Dougherty County School System is losing diversity because it has stopped all advertising of jobs except on its own website. "People get jobs because of who they are related to, and they may not necessarily be the most qualified person."

Tharin says the public would be shocked by the percentage of the Dougherty County school system employees who are related by blood or marriage. One reason, the employees are usually the only ones who know about the jobs available.

"When job openings, we very seldom, and I have yet to see it happen. We don't go outside the system looking for employees."

Budget issues caused the board to stop advertising jobs, but Tharin says they need to bring in new talent. "There are good qualified employees outside the system. Outside this county, outside this state who have got things to contribute. But we don't look for that."

Superintendent Dr. Joshua Murfree is out of town. School Attorney Tommy Coleman said it is natural in a system this size for several family members to be employees.

"Whether the board would like to deal with that in a way to make sure that those people work in different places in the system, they'll have to adopt a policy to do that," Coleman said.

Tharin says fixing the problem calls for a plan with a lot of thought behind it, but says Albany needs it to improve the schools. "We have got to have a viable, vibrant, productive school system or we are going to die as a community."

Tharin says because the board does all the hiring and firing, it's up to the school board to address what she sees as an horrendous problem in Dougherty County Schools.

The school board has had a policy drawn up addressing fraternization between employees at the same building. It has not been adopted yet, but the proposed policy would call for employees having relations with other employees to report it to the Superintendent.

Carol Tharin says she wants board members to stop holding pre-meetings in a small room because they appear inaccessible to the public.

She also wants to see more community involvement and hopes that industry and business officials and parents will attend school board meetings.

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