Some of the Wake County school system’s lowest-paid employees are getting a $1,250 bonus in time for Christmas.
The school board voted Tuesday to award the one-time bonus to non-certified staff as a “gesture of appreciation of their hard work and good will.” David Neter, Wake’s chief business officer, noted how non-certified staff had, since 2008, only got a 1.2 percent state raise in 2012 and a $500 raise this year at a time when inflation has gone up 8 percent.
Neter said the bonuses would go to non-certified staff on salary grade scales of 16 to 30. He cited examples such as teacher assistants, child nutrition service workers, school-based clerical staff, custodians, bus drivers, maintenance and operations staff, physical therapists and occupational therapists.
Neter said school and central services staff paid on certified salary schedules – i.e. teachers – and school administrators aren’t eligible because they got larger state raises this year. He said the superintendent’s leadership team also isn’t eligible.
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“It is long overdue and too little, too late, but it certainly is a great gesture on behalf of the school system,” school board member Susan Evans said of the bonuses.
School board member Keith Sutton said the bonus means “Christmas might be just little bit more merry” for those employees.
The money will come from an $18.1 million pot the school board appropriated from reserves Tuesday to cover special projects. The district had made cuts earlier in the year to build up a pot to pay for things like the bonuses, migrating the district’s phone service to VoIP and providing additional resources to high-needs schools.
Some teachers will also get some more money from Wake but it might not be until next year.
Neter said they’re working on a plan to present to the school board either this month or early next month on how to spend the $3.75 million the county commissioners set aside this year for teacher raises.
School board members had asked staff to use the raises to help veteran teachers who got 1-percent raises from the state this year compared to the larger pay bumps given to less-experienced teachers.