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Columbia Board of Education Discusses Consequences for Contract-Breaking Teachers

Rebecca Thiele
Teacher Roger Brallier, in class at Mexico Middle School: Public schools had the spotlight in yesterday's start to the state's legislative session.

The Columbia Board of Education discussed consequences for teachers who break their contracts at last night’s board meeting.

The school board was introduced to a new policy that outlines repercussions for a broken contract. Susie Adams, President of the Columbia Missouri State Teachers Association, said the policy was hypothetical until now.

The policy would enact a monetary penalty for teachers who resign after their contracts are renewed on June 1. It also gives the district full authority to tell employers seeking information that the employee broke their contract. The board has seen several late resignations over the past few years and wishes to put an end to it.

Linda Quinley, Chief Financial and Operations Officer, said late resignations put particular stress on the students in the classroom and the staff who have to fill the gap.

“That classroom is either covered hour by hour by teachers who should be on their plan time or doing something else," Quinley said. "Or we bring in a substitute who... may or may not be certified in that area of instruction, and we certainly don’t have continuity of instruction."

Quinley said students need continuity in the classroom to succeed.

“It seems for the most part, teachers are in favor of this. Nobody seems to be really against it,” Adams said.

Quinley said she thinks most teachers are in favor of this new policy and would never dream of breaking their contracts.

“A lot of policy is made for the few in mind,” Quinley said.

The policy was read but was not voted into effect. Precise monetary values still need to be approved before the policy can be finalized.