Pay scale proposal presented to School Board

Dewain E. Peek/OCN screen shot

OCEA representative Jennifer Eilender asks for school gymnasiums to be opened up for students just as they have been for ball teams.

By Dewain E. Peek,

OCN Editor

A support staff pay scale proposal was presented to Overton County Board of Education during the Tuesday, Jan. 12 regular monthly meeting, which was attended in-person by all members.

As chairman of a committee tasked with looking into a support staff pay scale, School Board member William Abston explained the proposal.

“The last raise was given seven years ago, in 2013, to the support staff,” Abston said. “And I believe it was a dollar on the hour.”

The total budget for support staff is currently $3,525,057.31, which includes 18% for all benefits, according to Abston.

“The cost of every penny that we would spend giving a raise would be roughly $31,629.80, plus that 18%,” Abston said. “And at the end of the year, each support staff receives a longevity bonus, at the end of the year, that breaks down to a 5-cent bonus for every year worked times how many hours were worked that year.”

He proposed a 5-cent pay raise on a 15-year scale.

“It’ll reward the people that’s been with the school system for the longest,” Abston said. “So, if you’ve been here for 15 years, you will see an immediate jump up, with the 5 cents it would be 75 cents on the hour, and we’d make the pay scale retroactive.”

The new scale would push the total budget for support staff pay to $3,729,690.05, which would be an addition of $204,632.75, plus the 18%, according to Abston.

He said Maintenance Supervisor and Transportation Supervisor salaries were moved up in this proposal so that they would still have a higher pay than the topped out scale of their employees.

“Of course, those are positions we don’t currently have anybody filling,” Abston said.

He added LPN onto this pay scale also.

“So they’ll increase 10 cents over the 15 years,” he said.

Any increase will have to be budgeted each year, starting next school year.

Abston suggested adding the support staff pay scale onto next month’s agenda.

The meeting began with the usual call to order and housekeeping items such as approving the minutes of the December 8, 2020 meeting.

The first item on the agenda was the director of schools contract.

Director of Schools Mark Winningham was removed from the Director of Schools position and designated for reassignment by the interim director, with School Board members Bruce Hudgens, Mike Hayes, Wayne Taylor, Mitchell Stonecipher, Randy Dodson, and Chairman Jarman Hicks voting yes, and School Board member Dolphus Dial, Abston, Larry Looper, and Mike Gilpatrick voting no.

Rickman Principal Donnie Holman was appointed as interim director, with School Board members Hudgens, Hayes, Taylor, Stonecipher, Dodson, and Chairman Hicks voting yes, and Dial, Abston, Looper, and Gilpatrick voting no.

(For more see “Winningham removed as school director”)

In other business, upgrades were approved for the playground at A.H. Roberts Elementary School.

Chairman Hicks said the upgrades were being paid for by the A.H. Roberts Elementary School PTO.

“So, there should not be any monies coming from our General Purpose to cover this,” Chairman Hicks said.

Hicks said the PTO also asked to be able to sell the old equipment.

Along with the motion to approve the upgrades, Stonecipher added giving permission for the old equipment to be sold and that money go back to the PTO. Hayes seconded, and all School Board members voted aye.

Leave of absence was approved for Cindy Ledbetter from January 19, 2021 to April 30, 2021 for educational purposes.

Kerri Aldridge was granted leave of absence from November 17, 2020 to January 4, 2021.

Lauren R. Wood was granted leave of absence from May 3, 2021 to an open date.

Lisa Langford was granted leave of absence from December 7, 2020 to March 22, 2021.

Second reading approval was given for the following policies: 1.901 Charter Schools Application; 4.400 Textbooks and Instructional Materials; 6.303 Interrogations and Searches; 6.402 Physical Examinations and Immunizations; and 6.405 Medicines.

General Purpose Budget Amendment #1 was approved.

Hayes informed the School Board that Overton County may receive $2,849,551 in government COVID-19 funds. More information on that is expected in the weeks ahead.

Jennifer Eilender, representing Overton County Education Association, was given the floor and she said, “The only thing that OCEA would like to bring to your attention has to do with the gyms in the schools.

“Because of COVID, we haven’t been able to use those gyms but ball teams have. And now that the weather has gotten really bad, we’d like for somebody to do some investigating and see if we can find a way to open up those gyms so the kids can use them for their PE, because they aren’t able to go outside.

“And really, when they’re doing PE in the classroom, they’re closer together than they would be if they were in the gym,” she said. “So, that’s something that we’d like for y’all to look into and see if we can open up those gyms for those kids to use.”

The meeting adjourned.