Asheville City Schools’ Jan. 10 board brief

Press release from Asheville City Schools:

During tonight’s Special Called Meeting of the Asheville City Board of Education, Chairman James Carter proposed an update about Board Meeting Times.  Peyton O’Conner explained she wished to push back the start time until 5:15.  However, the Board decided to keep their meeting times as is.  Work Sessions and Regular Meeting will continue to begin at 5:00 PM for the remainder of the 2021-2022 school year.

Finance Updates: 
Georgia Harvey, Chief Finance Officer, gave an update on staff salaries, bonuses & other pay.  Mrs. Harvey’s overview is broken down by date, and each entry lists which staff members are impacted and how much the bonus is for. As shared with all Asheville City Schools staff members on December 15th:

Overview of Pay – Salaries, Bonuses, & other pay
December 17th payroll
-State Premium Pay (SPP) of $1,000 for all permanent full time staff employed as of 12/1/2021. SPP will be prorated for permanent part-time staff employed as of 12/1/2021. Not available for temporary or contracted staff. Payment is not subject to State Retirement.
-School Nutrition ESSER recruitment/retention pay; payment is subject to State Retirement.

-New salary/pay schedules implemented with all January payroll.
-State Premium Pay (SPP) – $500 for all permanent full time staff employed as of 12/01/2021. SPP will be prorated for permanent part-time staff employed as of 12/01/2021. Not available for temporary or contracted staff. Payment is not subject to State Retirement.
Requirement – annual salary MUST be less than $75,000 to receive five-hundred dollars ($500) SPP. Annual salary is all related compensation earned for the employee’s position. NCDPI guidance pending regarding $75,000 salary threshold.
-Teacher Bonus – one-time lump sum of $300 to every teacher and certified instructional support staff; must be employed as of January 1, 2022. Payment is not subject to State Retirement.
-Principal Bonus – $1,800 one-time bonus; A principal is eligible if employed as a principal as of 01/01/2022. Payment is not subject to State Retirement.
-ESSER III – $1,000 for qualifying Teachers and certified Instructional support staff; Must complete attestation verifying completion of eligible trainings; Teachers and certified instructional support staff who will be no longer employed due to resignation, dismissal, reduction in force, death, or retirement, or whose last workday was prior to 01/01/2022 are ineligible for the bonus. Payment is not subject to State Retirement. Pending Federal
funding application approval.
-ESSER III retention pay – Please refer to previous email regarding retention pay.

-AP/CTE Bonus – for teachers of Advanced Placement Courses with students attaining qualifying scores on exams; for CTE teachers with students attaining relevant certifications or credentials. Bonus amount based on State directed guide, not to exceed $3,500 per teacher. Must be employed as of 01/01/2022. Payment is not subject to State Retirement.

-Retroactive salary bonus payment
“Bonus” refers to the legislative salary increases authorized for the period from July 1 to December 31, 2021. This is the salary differential between the new state salary schedules that go into effect on January 1, 2022 and what the employee earned on the state salary schedules that were in effect prior to January 1, 2022. This differential is to be paid as a “bonus” per the legislation. All employees who worked through 12/31/2021. Payment is subject to State retirement.

Bus Driver Proposal: 
Superintendent Dr. Gene Freeman and Amanda Rigsby, Transportation Operations Coordinator, presented Board Members with an additional Bus Driver and TSA Incentives/Retention Proposal for the remainder of the 2021-2022 school year.

The presentation is rooted in ways to retain our current yellow school bus drivers and TSAs during this statewide and national school bus driver shortage as well as to support recruiting efforts and the hiring of new school bus drivers and TSAs with monetary incentives.

They proposed:
A $1,000 sign-on bonus for new drivers.
-To be eligible, new drivers must earn their bus driver’s license and drive 60 consecutive days by the last day of the 2021-2022 school year.

Perfect Attendance Incentive for ACS permanent drivers & TSAs, paid out once every quarter. Permanent drivers and TSAs can earn $800 each quarter, collectively having the ability to earn an additional $1,600 this school year.
-To be eligible to receive this perfect attendance incentive, a permanent driver/TSA can only miss a total of 3 days in each of the remaining 2 quarter periods to qualify for the perfect attendance incentive.
-The first day can be sick leave time; the remaining two require a doctor’s note to remain eligible.
-COVID considerations would apply.

A $25.00 incentive for every additional run a driver assists the Transportation Department with outside of their assigned route.    The $25.00 incentive includes TSAs on buses supporting students that use exceptional services.
-This incentive would be in addition to a driver/sub driver or TSA/sub TSA base pay.
-This is required for additional coverage due to driver shortages and absences.

The Board of Education unanimously approved the proposal, with the caveat of removing the doctor’s note requirement for the 3rd Quarter under the Perfect Attendance Incentive.

The Transportation Department will start these added incentives once the 3rd Quarter begins on Wednesday, January 19th.

Face Coverings: 
Per Senate Bill 654, the Asheville City Board of Education was required to vote on whether they would like to continue to require face coverings for all students and staff.  The Board unanimously voted to continue requiring masks.

School Improvement Plans: 
Additionally, several principals shared their School Improvement Plans.  Each year, administrators and their School Improvement Team refine their School Improvement Plan, identifying their academic and priority goals.  As part of their presentation, each school shared two indicators, action steps needed to meet these indicators and how their action steps have been implemented.

Hall Fletcher Elementary School and Isaac Dickson Elementary School will be sharing their School Improvement Plans during the January 21st Board Retreat.

The Board will wait to vote on the acceptance of each School Improvement Plan until all 10 have all been presented.

Additional Items:
Mr. Carter also reminded community members that Asheville City Schools will be hosting its next Pop-Up Job Fair on Wednesday, January 12th from 3:00 – 6:00 PM in the Board Room located at 85 Mountain Street.  We are hiring essential positions like teacher assistants, bus drivers, custodians, substitute drivers and substitute teachers.  Potential employees do not need to register, as this is a drop-in event.  And if you are not currently looking for a new job opportunity, we ask for your support in sharing this event with your friends and family!

Additionally, please know the Board of Education will be hosting its Annual Retreat on Friday, January 21st beginning at 9:00 AM in the Board Room located at 85 Mountain Street.  The meeting can also be streamed on the district’s YouTube page.

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