Ad Spot

June 14, 2021

School staff members to receive payments from unprecedented RSS bonus package June 23

SALISBURY — The Rowan-Salisbury Schools Board of Education on Thursday unanimously approved an unprecedented $3.3 million round of bonuses for district staff.

The district will pay each classified staff member a bonus equal to 6.5% of annual base salary. All certified staff will be paid a flat rate of $1,000.

Superintendent Tony Watlington told RSS board the chance to give a bonus like the one approved Thursday will probably never happen again and credited Associate Superintendent of Resources Carol Herndon for bonuses being possible. Watlington praised the district’s staff for their efforts during a challenging year.

“Generally, you’ll never see me recommend to the board that we ever touch our fund balance,” Watlington said. “In most school districts, the fund balance should always be thought of as a lock box. It’s like a personal savings in our own personal finances. You just don’t touch it.”

He said this is a one-time exception to that rule because the district expects to add   $1.65 million to $2.65 million to the fund balance by the close of this fiscal year.

Herndon told the RSS board the N.C. Department of Public Instruction gave clear guidance the district could not use the millions in federal relief funding for this particular bonus. Therefore, the $3.3 million will come from local funding; federal money will be used to pay for other projects.

Board member Brian Hightower was critical of the guidance from the state not allowing the relief funding to be used for this purpose, but he supported giving staff the bonus.

“The teachers deserve every bit of this,” Hightower said.

Watlington said the district will be able to use federal aid to pay teachers for summer work.

He said administrative staff wanted to move on the recommendation now because the RSS’ finance department closes out payroll before the fiscal year ends on June 30. Staff will be paid on June 23.

Watlington said the district is not alone in its thinking. Several local businesses and nearby school districts are also providing bonuses.

“We’re not doing it just because they’re doing it,” Watlington said. “We want to do it because we’re Rowan-Salisbury Schools and we think it’s the right thing to do to recognize our hard working employees.”

During the called virtual meeting, Watlington noted a salary study was started under former Superintendent Lynn Moody and the district is still in the midst of of the study. The reason for the more generous bonus for classified staff is because they are paid the least in the district.

“We just think that the higher percentage of the bonus ought to go to the people who make the least amount of money,” Watlington said.

Board member Dean Hunter said this was the first time in his seven years on the board he’s received a recommendation from the superintendent to use this amount of money from fund balance without any other discussion. Hunter said he thought the bonuses could have been handled better, but added nobody in their right mind would say “no” to the recommendation.



NC rights groups say GOP bills impede voting access


Sgt. Shane Karriker’s funeral procession travels through downtown Salisbury


Blotter: June 14

Ask Us

Ask Us: When will front entrance to courthouse reopen?


As COVID-19 cases wane, vaccine-lagging areas still at risk


Blotter: Man faces litany of charges for fleeing sheriff’s deputies

Granite Quarry

‘Race to the Dan’ brings Revolutionary War back to Rowan


‘Unity in the Community’ event brings together Salisbury Police, NAACP


One killed, two others shot on South Jackson Street in Salisbury


State examining Davidson County emergency alert received in Rowan, other counties


Cleveland Rodeo packs house for 10th year


Salisbury’s Jacques Belliveau talks mental health, filming during premiere of ‘Reggie: A Millennial Depression Comedy’


Sen. Ford backs new set of election-related bills


Downtown Salisbury bullish on potential for more residential space


Biz Roundup: Wine about Winter set for June 18


Local artists draw in adventurous travelers with eclectic Airbnb rental downtown


Commissioners discussing reviving joint capital project committee with school board


Beech-Nut Stage One cereal recalled


‘All Critters Big and Small’ program coming to library


Area Sports Briefs: Former A.L. Brown standout Cambrea Sturgis wins two sprint events


RSS administration to recommend return to five-day school week


Baseball notebook: Wingate wins national championship; high schools set sights on playoffs


Gene Seaford gets fifth career ace at age 90


Livingstone seeking nominees for inaugural ‘Forty Under 40’ Society