REQUEST DIVIDES SCHOOL BOARD

August 02, 2000 12:00 am

A veteran school teachers request for a leave of absence for a year divided the Brookings-Harbor School Board Monday.

The board voted 2-2 to give Michelle Kalina a years leave even though she did not follow the districts procedure.

With the split vote, the board asked Kalina to put her request in writing, and promised to consider it at the next meeting.

The district requires teachers seeking a years leave to file their request no later than April 1. Kalina said she couldnt apply by the deadline because the opportunity to teach at a Defense Department school in Korea did not develop until May.

She said she told her principal, Sue Musser of Azalea, and was told the request would be turned down because she had missed the deadline. Instead, she said, she elected to resign.

Board member Jeanne Sever favored giving the leave. She said Kalina had received many awards, and was recognized as an excellent teacher during her 16 years as a teacher. Most recently she has been a language arts teacher at Azalea.

Dr. Paul Prevenas, district superintendent, was concerned about her failure to follow procedures. He asked what would happen if she were granted a leave, and there was no opening when she returned. He wanted to know if the district would lay off a teacher with the least seniority. Maybe, he said, the replacement for Kalina should be told the job is for only a year. The board a few moments before had hired Maggie Jackson.

The board members said they couldnt remember a time when there wasnt turnover and an available position.

Besides, Prevenas said, even without a formal leave of absence, the district will consider Kalina for any opening that happens to be available. A formal leave guarantees a job.

Kalina said if her return meant bumping someone from a job, she would not attempt to come back. She said she wants to return to Brookings to teach, and to share what she has learned about Korea and another culture with her Brookings students.

She said after the meeting that she will submit the letter, and seemed apologetic about not doing it sooner.