School system employees to be paid a bonus

Grady County School System employees can all expect a pleasant surprise in their November paychecks.
The board of education last Tuesday night unanimously approved Superintendent Dr. Kermit Gilliard’s recommendation to pay a one-time bonus equal to approximately 2.5 percent of the employee’s base salary.
The lump sum total is $571,295.96, which will be paid out of the school system’s cash reserves.
The bonus payments will range from $250 up to a maximum of $1,877.60. According to Dr. Gilliard, 11 system employees will received slightly more than 2.5 percent in order for them to receive the minimum bonus of $250. Two school system employees, who are not on the state’s teacher salary scale will receive slightly less than a 2.5 percent bonus, but will receive the maximum bonus of $1,877.60
Georgia Governor Nathan Deal has taken issue with local school districts that did not use additional state funding appropriated for Georgia public schools for three percent raises for school teachers.
However, the governor did not adjust the state salary schedule for the three percent raise he has called for, and many say that was a calculated move because by doing so it would be an ongoing cost.
The additional revenue from the state has allowed some school systems across the state to restore furlough days for teachers and school system personnel, but the Grady County school system restored furlough days and restored local supplements in the 2014-2015 fiscal year.
The superintendent said that since the governor and General Assembly did not approve a salary schedule increase in the 2016-2017 state budget, there is no guarantee the additional state funding for public schools will be appropriated next year.
Compounding the situation, according to Dr. Gilliard, is the state is set to introduce a new funding formula for K-12 education, which could result in less state funding for local schools in future years.
The school board had delayed taking action on a bonus earlier this year until the books were closed on the 2015-2016 fiscal year.
Dr. Gilliard said the school system will continue to work to improve the compensation for school system personnel.
The Grady County school superintendent said this week that officials will have to monitor system finances in November to determine if there will be sufficient tax collections to pay the bonus prior to Thanksgiving break, or if the bonus would have to be paid on Nov. 30 when the school system receives its monthly appropriation for payroll, which is roughly $2.5 million.
“We realize some of our employees would like to have this extra money to shop for Christmas gifts during the after-Thanksgiving sales, but we may not have sufficient cash in the bank to pay the bonus before schools close for the Thanksgiving break. We will just have to monitor our cash position and decide in November where we stand,” Dr. Gilliard said.

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