Some Stokes County employees could receive a merit bonus based on an allotment of $85,000 earmarked for state funded, non-educator positions which include bus drivers, custodians, instructional and teacher assistants, clerical staff, directors, principals, assistant principals, and administrators.
Superintendent Dr. Brad Rice explained to the school board Monday evening Stokes County has an estimated 260 state paid employees eligible for the allotment.
“There are some people paid with federal funds and some paid with local funds, so it causes a bit of division. When people are hired they’re hired by Stokes County Schools and they don’t know what funds they’re paid from. So what some districts are looking at is using local funds to make a merit based pay for the other employees that fall under these categories.”
“If we were allowed to do an across the board bonus, which we’re not, but if we were that would equate to about $325 a person,” Rice said.
The cost to include local and federally funded positions would accrue an additional $52,586.
“I’ve met with other superintendents and no one else in this region has come up with a plan,” Rice said. “We want input from people it would effect. How do you compare what a bus driver does to a teacher assistant to a custodian? You can see there’s a problem right off the bat.”
Rice said he’d like to see a committee formed to look at their options by the end of September. Then, discuss the issue in Oct., bring a recommendation to the board at the Nov. 7 work session and finalize the decision before the Dec. 1 deadline.
“The question is do we want to present it as it’s written or do we want to go to the county commissioners and ask for an extra $52,000 to make it equitable across the board, knowing they said they would help fund emergencies? We can see if this rises to their level of emergencies or not?”
Board Chair Sonya Cox said she believed it merited discussion.
“That’s why this is uncharted territory. We’ve never had a fund balance so low that we couldn’t dip into it to take care of something like this,” she said.
Vice-Chairperson Pat Messick added, “We just need to start taking everything to the county commissioners because that’s the only way they’ll understand how low our fund balance is and we cannot even do the business we’ve been elected to do.”
Amanda Dodson can be reached at 336-813-2426 or on Twitter at AmandaTDodson.