Randolph County School System employees to receive bonus pay

ASHEBORO – The Randolph County Board of Education met Monday and was presented with a resolution to provide bonus pay to nearly all of its employees.

The board approved the resolution to provide COVID-19 Premium Pay to Randolph County School System Employees due to pandemic-related disturbances and staff shortages through the ESSER funds.

“We have great staff members, they’re highly qualified, and they are loved and appreciated by our school system’s leadership and the board of education,” said Superintendent Dr. Stephen Gainey. “And so we want to present this tonight as a recommendation to try and keep staff members with us and bring other ones to us.”

For current employees that are employed by September 30, they will receive a one-time payment of $500, and if they stay on by the end of the year, they will receive an additional $500, according to Gainey.

“The beauty of this is that it doesn’t matter what position you’re in,” Gainey said. “There’s a $1,000 bonus for you.”

The bonus pay is also being utilized to recruit new hires. Anybody who is hired by the board of education between October 1 and January 9, will have a recruitment bonus of $500 in their first paycheck, and if they stay till the end of the year, they will also get the additional $500 as well.

Finally, substitutes are going to be able to receive bonus pay as well if they work the equivalent of 20 full-time days from October 1 through January 31. The bonus for substitutes that reach this marker will be a $500 bonus.“This school system, in many ways, survives and has survived many staff shortages because of substitute teachers, but also substitute bus drivers, substitute child nutrition staff members, substitute custodians, substitute clerical staff,” Gainey said. “It’s not just substitute teachers.”

The board was also given an updated local testing report.

“This is a new report that will be coming before the board in the fall of even-numbered years based on some legislation passed by the state of North Carolina in 2019,” said Director of Testing and Accountability Meredith Weipert. “Districts are submitting information about the number of standardized tests and the amount of time that students spend on standardized tests during the school year. Based on Randolph County School Systems numbers over the 2020-21 and 2021-22 school years, we are currently over the state average both in the number of tests and total number of time.”

Based on the general statute, when a district is above the state average, the local board of education must submit a plan to the Department of Public Instruction to eliminate certain local standardized testing in order to ensure neither the number of tests nor the number of hours spent on standardized testing exceeds the state average.

According to Weipert, in response to the results of the report, Randolph County Schools has created a plan that will see a decrease of 39 tests and 23.8 testing hours.

The board then approved facility improvements at Southwestern Randolph Middle School. The improvements include the installation of a concession stand building with restrooms near the baseball/softball field and the football/soccer field, funded by the athletics booster club.

The board also approved the acceptance of a change order from Trinity Middle School to credit back $727,800.90 in unused funds and a grant that was awarded to Southwestern Randolph High School.

“The name of the grant is the Rachael Ray Grow Grant in the amount of $5,000,” said Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Cathy Waddell. “The grant was received on August 25, 2022 and will provide funding for classroom kitchen tools and a Clear Touch Panel.”

The Randolph County Board of Education will next meet October 17.

By Ryan Henkel, North State Journal