Employees with Sampson County Schools will receive a little something extra in their stockings this Christmas in the form of a bonus approved Tuesday by the Board of Education.
During Tuesday morning’s work session, interim superintendent Mike Warren reminded school board members that earlier in the year, as he and the school board grappled with various “monetary issues,” they had requested that he and central office staff pursue the possibility of offering employees a bonus at Christmas as “a token of appreciation.”
This request from school board members came about, he recalled, particularly because of the legislature’s decision earlier this year to end teacher tenure and because of the new law’s (section 9.6 of Senate bill 402) offering of four-year contracts — which will include a $500 pay raise every year of their contract, totaling $5,000 over four years — to only 25 percent of teachers within a school system that meet certain requirements.
Warren explained that he and some central office staff, including finance officer Dale McLamb, had met and crunched the system’s numbers, “realizing that our fund balance is going down.” McLamb interjected that the fund balance is currently at $3.1 million.
Feeling the tightening of the purse strings and with budget concerns in mind, Warren recommended that the school board consider giving a $100 net bonus to permanent, full-time employees and a $75 net bonus to permanent, part-time employees this Christmas. He noted that if those bonus amounts are approved, the cost to the school system will be $145,000, a total amount that will likely come out of funds from a supplemental line item and not from the fund balance.
School board member G.H. Wilson made a motion to give school system employees the recommended bonus with vice chairwoman Faye Gay offering the needed second. The recommendation received unanimous approval from the school board.
Following fellow school board member Mary Brown calling the bonus a “morale booster,” Wilson acknowledged that the school board wasn’t offering the bonus because it felt like it had to but rather because the school board members knew it was a gift that was “well earned.”
“We would like to give a lot more,” added school board chairman Telfair Simpson.
Lauren Williams can be reached at 910-592-8137, ext. 117 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.