Teachers and Other School System Employees to Get State Funded Bonus

DeKalb County teachers and non-certified staff are getting a pay raise in the form of a 2% bonus thanks to an allocation of $276,000 in state funding to the school system.
The Board of Education Thursday night adopted a budget amendment to fund the bonuses, which will amount to $700 for every teacher or certified staff member and $250 per person for non-certified personnel. No local tax dollars are being used to fund it. The vote was 6-1 in favor. Board member Jerry Wayne Johnson voted no.
Board Chairman W.J. (Dub) Evins, III said under this plan everyone in the school system would get more money “Every penny that came in from the state has gone into this (bonus plan). There is no extra money to go into any other category. We’re not going to do that. Instead of a straight pay raise, we’re giving a bonus. If we were to put this in the form of a pay raise and next year our ADM (Average Daily Student Membership) were to go down and the state were to decide that we should get less money we would have to take a pay cut,” said Evins.
Governor Bill Haslam promised almost $100 million for teacher pay in his annual State of the State address last January, and the legislature approved additional spending of just under $98 million in April as part of the state’s 2015-16 budget. The additional funding was billed as giving teachers a 4 percent teacher pay raise, although its impact would vary from district to district.
The State Board of Education last summer approved a new salary schedule intended to raise the minimum annual pay for Tennessee teachers by just under $1,000, but did not translate into an across-the-board 4 percent pay raise for all Tennessee teachers.
Officials with the board and the state Department of Education emphasized that the additional $98 million in state funds allocated for teacher salaries in this year’s state budget was to provide districts with additional funding for teacher compensation. However, local districts have discretion over exactly how that money is spent on teacher compensation.
In other business, Director of Schools Patrick Cripps announced in his monthly personnel report that Mary Mathis has been hired as a custodian at DeKalb West School and Heather Shehane, a teacher at Smithville Elementary School, has been granted a leave of absence as requested.

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