SALISBURY – The state budget of over $ 1.5 billion signed by Governor Roy Cooper on Wednesday will mean more money in the pockets of Rowan-Salisbury School employees.
The budget includes wage arrears to meet new minimum wage standards and wage increases for staff since the start of this fiscal year. The minimum wage for school employees will be raised to $ 13 this fiscal year and $ 15 in fiscal year 2022-2023, which begins in July. The increases come with additional funding as the district is already working to implement increases for these staff members.
RSS chief financial officer Carol Herndon said the backlog will impact every employee. Besides the minimum wage increases, Herndon said everyone is getting a wage increase from the state budget. She said retroactive pay will be treated as a bonus payable in January. The bonus will apply to employees employed as of January 1, but will be paid later.
She said the district was waiting for more advice from the state’s Department of Education on wage arrears and raised concerns about the tax implications for employees.
The specific provisions of the budget are a 5% increase for teachers over two years, a 2.5% increase for principals, new money for cybersecurity, millions for grant programs for the benefit of programs after school and summer courses and $ 100 million to complete teacher recruitment in poor countries. counties.
State Superintendent Catherine Truitt released a statement saying the budget responds to the priorities she has advocated for.
“I appreciate the efforts of the General Assembly to develop a budget that puts us on the path to much-needed stability and allows us to continue investing in our students, our education officials and our school districts, ”Truitt said in a statement Tuesday.“ I look forward to may Governor Cooper sign this law and appreciate his recognition of how this budget supports North Carolina students, small businesses and taxpayers.
Herndon said RSS is not sure exactly how much new funding it will receive as a result of the budget.
“This is what DPI is working on right now,” Herndon said. “Respond to the now signed budget and determine what that means for the additional allocations. “
Herndon said state education officials will create new pay scales to determine how much new funding goes to each school district. Herndon said the increases should allow the district to move faster on salary increases for classified staff than recently planned. Last week, the RSS Board of Education approved wage increases for bus drivers, but there are still classified staff waiting for similar bumps.
Herndon said the DPI was asked to create a grid by position to help districts understand all the considerations for the budget: salary increases, bonuses, amounts, pay dates and other considerations.
Herndon expects to have more details earlier this week.
“I know they are working harder to provide us with more advice,” Herndon said.
Herndon said the district immediately got to work to change its federal COVID-19 aid budget to pay $ 2,000 in bonuses to all staff that the district school board approved on Monday.
“We have already started to process this in payroll to get a bit of a head start,” Herndon said, adding that she was confident the amendment would be approved.
Herndon will not be with RSS in January when further new budget executions take place. His last day with the district is December 17; she will take over as Financial Director of Cabarrus County Schools.
“It’s been a trip I’m proud to be on,” said Herndon, noting that HR Director Jill Hall Freeman has the same passion to finish the job that she does.