Arkansas’ schools for deaf, blind plan to shuffle employees between them

Arkansas’ schools for deaf, blind plan to shuffle employees between them

The Associated Press

JUNE 12, 2015

LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas — Officials for Arkansas’ schools for the deaf and blind are planning to shuffle 26 employees between the two campuses.

The forthcoming move follows the schools’ closure of their shared services unit, which employs administrative, maintenance, public safety and transportation workers, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette ( ) reported.

Superintendents for both schools told lawmakers that no one is being laid off. But officials from both say the employees will be placed under a six-month probation period, starting in July.

The state’s personnel administrator, Kay Terry, said the workers would get new job standards that they would be evaluated against during that time.

“They just wanted to get their own individual standards in place and have the employees to work to those standards,” she said. “But if somebody was dismissed at that particular point in time, they would have to go directly to the court (to challenge the termination). They wouldn’t have to go through the normal statewide grievance process.”

She said it was her “understanding that there was no plan for any terminations whatsoever.”

Zoreda Richardson, personnel manager for the schools, told lawmakers Wednesday that the schools plan to put these employees “back on probation with no grievance rights.”

“With no grievance rights, that means you are going through the back door to do what you won’t do in the front door,” she said.

Superintendent Jim Hill for the Arkansas School for the Blind said it “has always dealt honestly with its employees and has never taken advantage of the opportunities to hurt anybody or to do anybody wrong.”

“For those who know me, I would say that I lean over the other direction rather than try to get rid of someone,” he said. “I don’t intend to be harsh with these new employees. I don’t intend to get rid of them through a devious method. But I do plan to grade them on the new standards that I will have for them.”


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