In a special called meeting on Monday, the Scotland County Board of Education approved a 1.2 percent raise for all full-time employees.
Teachers, central office staff, and non-certified employees including teaching assistants will receive the raise for the 2012-2013 school year, according to Jay Toland, the school system’s finance officer.
In addition, teaching assistants’ salaries will be increased to the levels prior to salary cuts made in recent years. The 1.2 percent raise will be figured with the raises taken into account.
“We’re going to bring them back to 100 percent for 2012-2013 and continue to evaluate that on a year-by-year basis,” Toland said. “The budget wasn’t as bad as it initially had come out, so we were able to maximize resources on the local side. That picture became really clear to us at the end of June, so we saw that we could make up that difference with the state budget being a little bit favorable and then on the local side we made up the rest of it.”
Toland also reported that, due to a shrinkage in average daily membership for the 2012-2013 school year, the budget lost nearly $1 million in state and federal funding. ADM decreased to 6,124 from 6,253 in 2011-2012.
Based upon county birthrates, the ADM decrease is not expected to end until 2015, when it is projected to level off.
“We’re projected to go down as low as 5,800 before it stabilizes,” said Superintendent Rick Stout. “Then again, if we have a big industry coming in in the next few years, that could turn things around.”
In other business, the board approved the hiring of six new assistant principals in county schools: Barbara Adams at I.E. Johnson Elementary, Kristen Broadbelt at Shaw Academy and Covington Street, Melissa Bryant-Ward at South Scotland Elementary and Washington Park Elementary, Susan Deese at North Laurinburg Elementary, Kachina Quick Singletary at Wagram Primary, and Maggie Wells at Laurel Hill Elementary.
The board also approved an amendment to policy regarding cell phone use in the classroom. At present, school board policy states that cell phones observed in use during class time are to be confiscated. The board moved to relax the rules to allow for cell phone use for instructional purposes.
“We’re going to concentrate on trying to use electronic devices, as well as cell phones, for instructional purposes in the classroom, as long as they’re not a hindrance to the instructional process,” said Stout. “The policy states that they are to be turned off and not used unless the teacher wants to use to device for instruction - for instance a math teacher may use a smart phone for graphs and other types of things.”