RSS board to ask county for money to pay supplements

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 12, 2016

By Rebecca Rider 

SALISBURY — Teachers and Rowan-Salisbury Schools staff may be able to look forward to an extra salary supplement in the next fiscal year.

The Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education voted Monday to send a budget request for $2.89 million to the county for approval. Approximately $2.4 million of the funds would be used to provide all Rowan-Salisbury staff with a salary supplement.

But the board debated for some time how the supplement should be chunked out. The budget request presented to the board proposed a 2 percent salary supplement for all staff, but board members expressed reluctance for a 2 percent supplement for all employees. Board member Dean Hunter advocated for varying percentages based on an employee’s position, with special attention paid to positions that had been without a salary increase for some time.

Board members Dr. Richard Miller and Travis Allen discussed a flat dollar amount for all employees.

“I’m not really in love with any idea. I want to be able to increase salaries across the board,” board Chairman Josh Wagner said.

The decision hinged on how much funding the board would receive from Rowan County commissioners.

“We just need to decide what do we want to ask the county to fund, in general. And if we don’t get that, obviously we have some work to do,” Wagner said.

Wagner pointed out that likely, the board would not receive the full amount from the county and would have to tweak the budget requests or find alternate sources of funding. But he said the 2 percent supplement would likely not strike the county as “unrealistic” or “exorbitant.”

“It may be the easiest thing, I don’t know if it’s the right thing,” Hunter said.

In the end, the board chose to request a flat dollar amount from the county so that it could amend the supplement amount as needed.

The $2.89 million request also includes funds to turn guidance and assistant principals into 11-month positions, hiring two school nurses and a risk management assistant, funding for school resource officers and providing coach salary supplements.

“That should cover it however we do it,” Allen said.

An additional $224,500 will be pulled from the system’s fund balance to provide the salaries for a teacher recruiter and a co-principal at Koontz, as well as a bonus for principals and assistant principals. The board will also request $3 million from the county for capital outlay projects.

In other business the board:

  • Voted to proceed with a Summer School that would prepare students for retaking mandated tests like the EOG and EOC. The program would cost approximately $35,000 to run, Assistant Superintendent Dr. Julie Morrow said. The board spent time debating whether or not transportation should be provided. Superintendent Dr. Lynn Moody said the state gave the green light for the program late, and she was unsure if there would be time to arrange transportation for qualifying students.

“Don’t we have an obligation to do the best we can possibly do?” Miller asked.

Miller made a motion to approve the program and to look closely into providing transportation, if possible. Hughes seconded, and the motion was unanimously approved.

  • Approved a three-year contract with Discovery Education for science “techbooks” totaling $182,359.
  • Approved a three year Wireless Area Network contract with Time Warner Cable for $1.25 million.
  • Voted to have Assistant Superintendent Anthony Vann take Godbey Road property – the potential site for a consolidated western elementary school – before the county for final approval.
  • Received an update on career pathways in schools, and gave permission for further planning on new career academies.
  • At its next meeting the board will look at moving forward with the sale of the Kiser building, accepting a bid for roofing services, and discuss a field house at West Rowan High School.

Contact reporter Rebecca Rider at 704-797-4264.