BV board OKs bonuses, increase in base pay

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

The Berryville School Board is working toward its goal of improving teacher retention by increasing the school district’s base pay.

The board voted at its Monday meeting to approve both a $1,000 bonus for staff, which will be awarded in November, and an increase of $275 to the base pay, which will go into effect for the 2018-19 school year.

After hearing the proposed salary increases, board member Tyler Ashworth asked how the board felt they fit into the goal of improving teacher retention through competitive wages, salary and benefits.

“I see some wisdom in being near the middle of the pack,” he said.

Board president David Waller said he would love to see the district’s base pay on the higher end of a list of school districts in the area. The $1,000 bonus also makes a big difference, he said.

“It seems like that money makes more of a difference at one time than adding to the salary schedule,” he said. “The bonus puts us closer to what we’re aiming for.”

Ashworth asked superintendent Owen Powell if he was correct in estimating that the $1,000 bonus and increase of $275 to the base pay would cost the district about $638,000 over two years.

“Yes, the $1,000 bonus would cost about $335,000, which would come out of the 2017-18 budget,” Powell said, “and the $275 to the base would be about $303,000. So both of them together would total about $638,000.”

“In your judgment, what bonus amount would be disappointing to staff?” Ashworth asked Powell.

Powell said he believes anything below a $1,000 bonus would be disappointing since the district has awarded that to staff for the last six to seven years.

“Unless you’re looking at putting money onto the base instead,” he said.

Powell said the board could look at the district’s finances in the spring and see if funding is available to add more to the base pay next year.

“We could maybe get away from a bonus next year and add a little bit more to the base,” he said. “We could prepare our staff and let them know in the spring, so they know what to expect next school year.”

“I like that because in the long run they’re getting it,” board member Kristi Howerton said. “Our goal is to get faculty and staff to stay. The only way we’re going to do that is by adding to the base.”

Powell said he will email staff soon about increasing the base pay and potentially doing away with bonuses to get their thoughts on the matter.

Also at the meeting, Powell updated the board on the Connect 4 Board’s meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 27. He said the C4 board is now advertising for the supervisor position.

“We will probably advertise for about a month,” he said. “It’s being advertised at all three schools. We’ve had three applications so far at Berryville.”

The board also voted to approve a fuel purchase of $15,566.62 from Carter Energy.

The board’s next regular meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday, Nov. 13, in the Intermediate Cafetorium.

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