Roanoke Rapids teacher bonus tied to attendance

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Posted: Thursday, August 15, 2013 1:00 pm

Roanoke Rapids Graded School District officials are working on a possible incentive to encourage better attendance for teachers and help save the system money.

Superintendent Dr. Dennis Sawyer stressed the incentive was in an early, exploratory stage with many pieces still being worked on by district officials.

“Everyone knows when the regular educator is displaced, that the quality of instruction diminishes,” he said.

During the 2012-13 school year, the district spent $240,000 on substitutes for 2,004 absences. Absences included teachers with long-term illness, maternity leave, personal, sick and professional development.

Sawyer proposed to school board members giving the 200 certified and licensed teachers $25 for the first nine weeks, $50 for the second nine weeks, $75 for the third nine weeks and $100 for the fourth nine weeks of perfect attendance. In total, a teacher with perfect attendance could earn $250 extra for the entire school year.

Finance Officer Tommy Britton stressed it didn’t have to be consecutive for teachers but cumulative.

The days teachers are allowed off are based on an employee’s leave balance.

District officials said new teachers have minimal leave balances, and long-term teachers could have substantial leave balances.

When a teacher needs to be absent from the classroom, they can use sick leave, personal leave (which carries a $50 per day dock on student days) or annual leave on non-student days.

Annual leave is leave used during Christmas and Easter breaks and on teacher workdays.

Substitutes are paid $91 per day for certified and $70 per day for non-certified.

At the end of the school year, Sawyer said if all 200 teachers received a $250 bonus, it would be cheaper than having substitutes in the classroom because cost would be $50,000.

Due to the state budget, the district is losing funding for 12 teaching positions.

“It is another way to be more efficient with our resources and provide an incentive and reward to our teachers,” Sawyer said.

Overall, board members were OK with the preliminary plan but had questions.

Patrick Qualls asked if professional development would count against teachers.

Sawyer said this was a good question with more than $40,000 spent on professional development.

Dr. Michael Williams thought it was a good idea, but he cautioned district officials to think about the plan thoroughly and answer all questions.

“You need to work on a definition of teacher,” he said.

Valencia Davis also thought it was a good idea.

“You need to make sure principals are all on the same page,” she said.

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