BV board OKs stipend increase on first reading

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

The Berryville School District may be increasing stipends for its staff.

The Berryville School Board voted at its Monday meeting to approve the addition of stipends and the increase of current stipends for its staff on a first reading.

Suzanne Miner, representing the personnel policy committee, said the consideration of whether a position should include a stipend or not was based around whether the position spends extended time with students, particularly on overnight trips.

“That is a huge responsibility,” Miner said. “We asked sponsors of the different programs to give us a rough estimate of the hours that staff members in these positions worked outside of school hours. We are encouraging that process to continue so that we can update the information each year.”

The stipends presented at the Monday meeting were the Special Education Longevity Stipend and the stipends for non-athletic programs. Athletic program stipends will be presented at the next board meeting.

“We had to discuss athletic and non-athletic stipends separately as a committee,” Miner said.

Special education supervisor Apryl Harmon discussed the Special Education Longevity Stipend, noting that it would be an additional longevity stipend for special education instructors in an effort to retain those staff members,

“We basically lost half of our staff over the last several years. Some of those were from retirement and things we couldn’t prevent,” Harmon said. “We wanted to come up with something for Berryville to retain our special educations teachers and reward those teachers that have been here for several years.”

Special education teachers, she said, are responsible not only for instruction but also for filling out special education paperwork and holding conferences.

“There is a lot of preparation and extra hours,” Harmon said. “What I would like to propose is a $500 stipend if they have been in the district for three years, a $1,000 stipend if they stay in the district for six years

and an extra $1,500 if they stay in the district for 10 years.”

She said nine teachers in the department would qualify next year, totaling about $8,500 in stipends if approved. The cost would come out of federal funding, she said, so it would not affect the district’s operating budget.

Board member Chad Hipps asked Harmon if she believed the stipend would be enough to retain special education teachers for the district.

“I believe so. The feedback I received was positive,” Harmon said. “They were very appreciative of anything the school board could do.”

Superintendent Owen Powell recommended the board approve the Special Education Longevity Stipend and the non-athletic program stipends as a first reading only so that they could review the athletic program stipends next month as well.

“There will be more coming next month. I want you to be able to review both before approving the new stipend schedule,” Powell said.

The board’s next regular meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday, April 17, in the Intermediate Cafetorium.

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