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Veteran teachers could get pay increase

Grady County Board of Education members have expressed interest in improving the pay of teachers with 21-plus years of experience.
The school board met last Thursday to review the budget proposed by Superintendent-elect Dr. Kermit Gilliard and Finance Officer Dan Broome. The budget does not call for a tax increase, but depending on the total value of the county’s tax digest budget revisions could be necessary.
During the discussion last Thursday night, the board expressed an interest in increasing the pay for veteran teachers.
“This was something we had discussed trying to do in the following fiscal year, but when it was mentioned last week the board indicated they really would like to do something for 2015-2016,” Finance Officer Broome said.
Depending on just how much of an increase is added to the budget it could be significant. According to Broome, the system employs 131 teachers who have 21-plus years of experience.
“Teachers haven’t gotten a raise since 2009 and have just now gotten all of the furlough days and cuts to local supplement restored so those with 21-plus years of service are just now where they were in 2009,” Broome said.
“In our discussion last week I think you said that for the first 10 years the teacher got a raise each year. Correct?” Board member Jeff Worsham asked.
Broome said that every year through year eight there is a step increase in the state salary schedule for teachers. The step increases are paid every other year for teachers in the nine to 21 years, but after 21 years there is no additional step increase, according to Broome.
Broome is planning to put together a plan to increase local supplements for teachers with 21-plus years and present it to the board at a budget workshop tentatively scheduled for 6 p.m. on July 7.
“At that time, perhaps we will have the tax digest and could address the millage and supplement issue,” Broome said.
Worsham responded, “There is no need to discuss the millage unless it is to discuss lowering it.”
In other financial related news this week, Broome reported that proceeds from the $7 million bond issue have been deposited into a school system bank account at Ameris Bank.
Closing costs for the bond totaled $148,821.42. Out of that total, attorney Thomas L. Lehman and the Savannah law firm of Gray Pannell & Woodward split $70,000 in attorney’s fees. Broome reports that $5,000 was paid to the Capital City Bank attorney. Capital City Bank was the low bidder and purchased all of the bonds.
Also coming out of the closing costs was $70,681 to the placement agent, Raymond James and $1,000 for the annual administrative fee to Regions Bank.
After all closing costs were paid the system was left with $6,851,197.55 to be used on Education Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax approved projects including a major construction project at Southside Elementary School.
County voters authorized the issuance of $7 million in bonds to accelerate the construction projects. The bonds will be paid for with proceeds of the ESPLOST.

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