Allie Stamler, a rising senior at East Chapel Hill High School, sent us a letter she wrote to Superintendent Neil Pederson. She is upset that teacher Charles Stewart, a former principal at McDougle Middle School, has not been rehired for the coming school year.
“It disgusts me that the thought of taking this man away from our school even crossed your mind," Allie writes. "Mr. Stewart's choice to remain teaching math while retired, should only help reinforce the fact that he absolutely loves what he does; he loves to teach math, and he's incredibly talented at it.”
“While principal of McDougle Middle School, he continued teaching math classes. I had friends tell me what a great experience it was to be taught (extremely well) by their own principal,” Allie continues. “I'm pretty sure my principals over the years never got the opportunity to even know my name, or acknowledge my existence. Unfortunately, the only way to become well acquainted with a principal in this district, is to get in trouble.”
I called Stephanie Knott, the superintendent’s assistant, yesterday. She explained the situation, which we are now researching for a possible story.
The state legislation that allows retired educators to teach sunsets in September. At this point, school leaders don’t know if it will be extended, she said.
At the same time, school districts are grappling with severe budget cuts. The Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools has eliminated 48.5 teaching positions and another 40 teaching assistant spots. And the cuts may not be over. As it waits for word on the sunset provision and final state funding for the coming year, the district must decide between retaining retirees who have had an opportunity to build a retirement fund and younger educators who have not.
“We expect to take action on Mr. Stewart, once we have some clear direction from the legislature,” Knott said