For weeks I have been asking for our teachers that are teaching both in-person and virtual to receive a higher stipend. My colleague, Carolyn Weems, is the chair of our budget planning committee. In her committee, she pushed for more pay for our employees and she was able to get the following allocated:
* 1 time bonus of $1,000 to all full-time equivalent employees (this includes FTE Bus Drivers)
* A stipend increase for all teachers providing dual instruction for in-person/virtual students. A lump sum of money was allocated for this purpose. The exact amount is not yet known but will be approximately double to triple the current stipend.
* A pay increase of .5% (point-five percent) will be given to all employees on steps 1-30. Step 0 will get .25% (point-25). Those above 30 will receive a .5% (point-five percent) COLA (cost of living adjustment).
Last night the Board approved these committees recommendations. Kudos to our CFO for his great fiscal management during this crisis.
City Council will need to approve the reversion money that is being allocated for these purposes.
If passed by council, we anticipate the bonus to be paid at the end of November
The Board voted last night to return our 7,8,9,10,11,12 grade students who chose Option 1 to in person school 2 days per week beginning Nov 12.
MIDDLE: Grade 7 Option 1 students will attend in-person on Tues & Wedn each week. Other days will remain the same as the current schedule.
Grade 8 Option 1 students will attend in-person on Thurs & Fri each week. Other days will remain the same.
HIGH: Option 1 students with last names that begin with A-K will return for in-person on Tues & Wedn. L-Z students on Thurs & Friday. Other days remain the same. (9th graders will also be on the hybrid model).
While I am glad that our students are getting back to some in person learning. I asked the Superintendent what his plan is to get all of our Opt 1 Middle and High students back to 4 days per week learning. He said that he doesn't have a plan nor is he working toward a plan at this time to make that happen. I fear that these students will not get back to at least 4 days per week for months and other students may not see the inside of the classroom all year.
Ultimately, the Superintendent said that it is a space issue for returning all option 1 students. however, 80% of our Middle Schools have between 26-56% of the students requesting option 1. 75% of our High Schools have between 39% and 56% of the students requesting option 1. Space should not be an issue with these numbers. The other few schools who have higher numbers could think outside the box and do something different. I was told it would be an equity issue.
I made a substitute motion for the Board to accept the administrations current recommendations while also directing the Superintendent to work toward getting all option 1 students back to school as soon as possible. The Board rejected my motion 3-8 (Weems, Hughes, Manning voted yes).
We were also told that there has not be 1 student case of transmission of COVID within our schools.
2 Important topics on the agenda for Tuesday's Board meeting:
1. Reopening plan for Middle and High School Students (Board will be discussing and voting). I am advocating to get all Opt 1 students back to school at least 4 days per week. Administration is advocating for a hybrid model where Middle/High students will only have part-time in person learning. Email AND call the school board with your input. Phone calls will be most impactful. Board member contact can be found here: https://www.vbschools.com/about_us/our_leadership/school_board/members#rye
2. Budget: $36 million in Reversion money that the Board will vote to allocate. (See further details in the agenda.)
I'm thankful that my suggestion to provide an additional stipend to our teachers is being considered and I am inclined to support the proposal.
Here is a summary of the compensation proposal:
• $13,000,000 to be re-appropriated to the School Operating fund 115 to:
- Provide a one-time bonus of $1,000 for all full-time equivalent (FTE) employees - $11,000,000
- Increase the stipend amount for teachers providing dual instruction for Option 1 (face-to-face) and Option 2 (virtual) students - $2,000,000
I was not able to attend last night's board meeting but I did listen to the workshop. The superintendent now states that he cannot allow all option 1 students to return to in-person learning 4 days per week. He is proposing a hybrid plan and not allowing 7,8,10,11,12 to return at least until Nov 12th. Here is an email that I sent to Dr Spence and the Board this morning sharing my concerns and questions since I was not able to be at the meeting. I am also advocating for a higher stipend for teachers.