Wake Ed

Wake school board to vote on Superintendent Jim Merrill’s contract

Wake County Schools Superintendent Jim Merrill answers press questions Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2015 at the North Raleigh Hilton just before Merrill went in to give area educators his annual State of the Schools speech.
Wake County Schools Superintendent Jim Merrill answers press questions Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2015 at the North Raleigh Hilton just before Merrill went in to give area educators his annual State of the Schools speech. News & Observer file photo`

The Wake County school board has a crowded agenda Tuesday that includes bonuses for Superintendent Jim Merrill and the district’s lowest-paid employees, enrollment caps for next school year and a plan for filling the late Zora Felton’s board seat.

During the regular meeting, the school board will approve an amendment to Merrill’s contract that includes his new raise and performance bonus. Under Merrill’s contract, he’s eligible each year to receive up to a 5-percent increase in his salary that’s split between a bonus and a raise.

Merrill’s current annual salary of $289,115, according to Wake. He’s coming off a year where he was recently named North Carolina Superintendent of the Year. Last year, the board awarded Merrill $12,397 in bonuses and additional salary.

Also during the regular meeting, the board is scheduled to vote on a one-time bonus for its lowest-paid employees, which include people such as bus drivers, teacher assistants, custodians, secretaries and cafeteria staff.

The original plan the board was scheduled to approve on Dec. 6 was to provide a $500 bonus to employees making less than $15 an hour. But the board asked staff to revise the plan because it gave brand-new employees the same raise as people who’ve been in Wake for more than a year and overlooked employees who were making a little over $15 an hour.

At today’s work session, staff will present four options that would provide bonuses of between $350 and $650. The plan that’s backed will be moved for a vote in the action meeting.

Among other items today:

▪ The board will review the process that will be used to fill the District 7 school board vacancy causd by Felton’s unexpected death on Nov. 16. Staff is recommending taking applications through Jan. 2;

▪ The board will vote on having 10 schools be under enrollment caps for the 2017-18 school year to deal with their overcrowding. The board is moving quickly on the list, which was presented to a committee last week, because no new schools are recommended for a cap;

▪ The board will hold a public hearing before voting on having the YMCA of the Greater Triangle develop a new elementary school at the former Watson’s Flea Market in Southeast Raleigh. Wake will lease the school/YMCA that will form part of a complex that also includes affordable housing, a health care facility and commercial space such as a grocery store;

▪ Board members will tell staff areas they want focus on in the new 2017-18 operating budget that’s being developed;

▪ The board will review the district’s new 2016-19 Academically or Intellectually Gifted (AIG) plan.

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