Full-time certified and classified school district staff will receive an early Christmas present this year.
The Clark County Board of Education unanimously approved Tuesday a one-time $900 salary add-on for the employees to be paid in December.
The employees, who did not receive a cost-of-living increase this year, last had a salary increase in 2010 when they were given a 1.5 percent increase.
The board, at the urging of Chairwoman Judy Hicks, first began looking at the possibility of giving a one-time increase in January when it started working on its 2012-2013 budget and asked Financial Officer Stacey Clark to bring some numbers back to them.
After crunching numbers with financial consultant Bob Wagoner, Clark presented a proposal to the board with increases ranging from $800 to $1,300, which Wagoner said the district could fund out of its contingency fund of slightly more than $8 million.
All the board members agreed with Deanna Wolfe, who said the one-time increase was an opportunity to reward district staff for the effort they put in, even though the district isn’t able to do it year after year.
But there was a lengthy discussion about whether the contingency funds should be used for the increase, or for technology, specifically iPads, which several principals previously in the meeting had shared was one of their biggest needs.
“I appreciate the work the staff is doing, however, we just had five principals come up and say ‘we need technology, we need technology, we need technology.’ We have a healthy contingency and we can probably use some of that contingency to fund some of that technology,” Dr. Michael Kuduk said. “I’m not saying our teachers don’t need a raise, but from what I’m hearing tonight, they would probably want iPads more.”
Vice Chairwoman Debbie Fatkin said she agreed that technology was very important, but she felt the increase was also.
“I think we need the technology, but I also think our staff needs a raise that we can’t give them and this is a way of giving them a raise,” Fatkin said. “We didn’t give them one last year, it was two years ago, and before that it had been several years since they had a raise. I just think this is something, since we have a healthy contingency, that we should do.”
B.J. Swope, who made the motion to grant the increase, agreed.
“I know next year it will be a different story, but if we have it, I think now is a good opportunity to give back to the staff and employees,” Swope said.
Hicks was not in attendance at last night’s meeting because she was accompanying the contingent from Trapp Elementary School that was in Washington D.C. where they were accepting the Blue Ribbon School Award that Trapp received last month.
The board also approved a health services proposal that will fund the salaries of six nurses and two Certified Nursing Assistants to staff district schools for the remainder of the 2012-2013 school year. The $128,000 will come from the district’s general fund.
The move became necessary after the Clark County Health Department was forced to discontinue a joint agreement it had with the school district to provide the services beginning in December, due to recent cuts in its funding from Medicaid.
According to Health Director Scott Lockard, those cuts have resulted in the health department having a net loss of slightly more than $98,000 for the services it has provided the district already this school year.
District officials said they fully understood the health department’s reasons for withdrawing from the agreement.
“Health departments across the state of Kentucky have been facing some issues and unfortunately our local health department is also a victim of the things that are going on,” said Barbara Disney, district director of student services. “Scott Lockard has been very forthcoming with us, so we knew that this might be a possibility, before it became an absolute, and we appreciate him for that.”
“I think this is not unexpected. Other districts around the state have had to do this. I’ve had some discussion with people at the state level about this unfortunate trend brought on by Medicaid managed care,” Kuduk said. “One thing I would say is, that the reason for having this is Medicaid managed care really tightening the purse strings on things, I think health departments across the state are really strapped because of this because that is where a lot of their revenue comes from.”
The current contract with the health department expires Dec. 19, the final day of the district’s first semester.
The board then approved a salary schedule for the school nurses based on their years of service. The positions will be advertised and filled before school resumes in January.
In other business, the board:
— Approved naming Disney as the district’s interim treasurer to replace Clark, who has accepted a position in Georgetown to be closer to her family. Farris said interviews for a permanent treasure are scheduled for next week.
— Approved an adjustment to the district’s Race to the Top Scope of Work for CIITS grant plan. Originally the plan called for the district to use $1,980 of the funds to provide Continuos Instructional Improvement Technology System (CIITS) coaches at each school and level in the district to promote the ELA Literacy Design Collaborative and Math Formative Assessment Lessons. The district has since been given those services for free, so the $1,980 can now be used to sustain the CIITS coaches throughout the three-years of the grant, as well as provide additional CIITS coaches.
Contact Bob Flynn at firstname.lastname@example.org.