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School board OKs merit pay

By Rebecca Rider

rebecca.rider@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — Non-certified school staff have the opportunity to be awarded merit pay after Monday’s Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education work session.

The pay is a mandate handed down by the state, board Chairman Josh Wagner said. Wagner said the state parsed out funds with the stipulation that the money had to be used for merit pay and that it could not be awarded to every employee. It was up to the board to set standards.

The discussion is a continuation of one held at the board’s Sept. 26 business meeting. Employees who are now eligible for merit pay must be current employees, and must have been employed with the school system since Sept. 1, 2015. They must pass an evaluation, including not having any letters of reprimand since Sept. 1, 2015 and cannot have been on a performance plan. The employee must attend at least three hours of professional development.

The board was given $234,000 by the state for the purpose of merit pay. The amount will be split evenly between all eligible employees and will be awarded in February, 2017. The board passed the measure unanimously.

The measure does not include principals and assistant principals, though the board is considering a separate bonus for them.

At Monday’s meeting, the board discussed how much it would award to principals and assistant principals. Earlier discussions suggested a $1,500 bonus for principals and a $1,000 bonus for assistant principals. Monday, board member Chuck Hughes suggested dropping that amount to $1,000 for principals and $750 for assistant principals. However, board member Travis Allen disagreed, and suggested raising the amount — citing the amount of time both positions have gone without a pay raise.

“It’s a small increase, but I think we need to make it when we can,” he said.

Wagner added that until last year’s bonus, the positions had not received any additional compensation for seven years, and said he’d like to, at minimum, keep the amount consistent with last year.

“I would not want to take it back by any means,” he said.

The bonuses would be paid out of the board’s fund balance. The issue will be brought back at the board’s Oct. 24 business meeting and will take into consideration the current standing of the fund balance.

In other business the board:

  • Discussed student parking fees at some length, agreeing that high schools benefitted from the funds, but split on whether that money should be paid for from parking fees or if funds should be provided by the board. The issue will be discussed at the board’s Oct. 24 business meeting.
  • Received an update on the restorative classroom pilot program. Two restorative classrooms and one day-treatment program run by Crescent with Nazareth Children’s Home are now up and running, operating out of Hanford Dole Elementary School. The day treatment classroom is still waiting on licensure, and students are receiving services at Nazareth Children’s Home in Rockwell. Currently 17 students have been placed in the program, while other referrals have benefitted from intervention services.
  • Discussed the possibility of entering a partnership with the town of Granite Quarry. The town would pay to develop school system owned land in preparation for sale in exchange for the school system petitioning the town to annex the two parcels. The plots are located near the town limits and the school system’s bus garage. The issue will be brought back for more discussion at the board’s business meeting.
  • Voted to have only one meeting in November and December. The board will hold business meetings at 5 p.m. on Nov. 14 and Dec. 12.

The board will hold its October business meeting on Oct. 24 at 5 p.m. in the Wallace Educational board room, 500 N. Main St.

Contact reporter Rebecca Rider at 704-797-4264.

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