School Board Poised to Issue Flat-Rate Bonus to Employees

Movement toward a proposed bonus payment to Clarke County School employees continued to creep along at Monday night’s school board meeting. The Clarke County School Board approved a letter drafted by School Board Chairman Barbara Lee (Millwood) to the Clarke County Board of Supervisors. The letter, requested by the Supervisors prior to releasing $150K of a $246 FY09 carryover funding request by the School Board, was in response to a directive from the Supervisors that the School Board publicly state that it had no preferred use, other  a bonus payment, for the funding. However, the School Board letter stopped short of making the commitment requested by the Supervisors.

Clarke County Public Schools staff may soon receive a $418 one-time salary bonus

“We can’t agree to say that there won’t always be some other need for the money like books or buses” said Chairman Lee.  “A bonus payment is the best use for the money as we see it and I would have liked to have used the entire $246K for the payment. This will produce long term benefits because it demonstrates that the School Board values our teachers and staff and understand that they  have endured four years without a salary increase. ”

At last night’s meeting the School Board agreed that it would pay a flat rate of approximately $418 to each of its 333 full-time-equivalent employees. The flat rate payment is a digression from previous statements by school officials that the bonus payments would be proportional based on staff salary levels and contradicts statements from several Supervisors over the past months indicating their desire that higher paid employees receive a proportionally lower bonus payment than low and mid-level income employees.

While the School Board says that the bonus payment is the best use for the carryover funding, the Board of Supervisors expressed reservations about the idea in a May 24 letter to the School Board. In the letter the Supervisors asked the School Board to formally acknowledge that;

–                   The School Board has no better uses for these funds (textbooks, technology, etc.) in FY11 or FY12.

–                   The School Board understands that FY13will be a very tough year financially because $360,000in Federal Stimulus dollars will no longer be available after FY12.

–                   The School Board would rather use $150,000from its carryover fund balance for bonuses in FY11 than have that money available in FY13to avoid the laying off of over 2 FTEs

However, Lee and several other School Board members were resolute in their position not to agree with the Supervisors notion that the School Board is trading a bonus payment today for school books tomorrow.

“Our board is fully aware of the difficulties of both the FY12 and FY13 budgets, and wishes to assure you that we will, as in the past, continue to a) closely manage all aspects of our budgets to ensure that our students receive the best education possible within the constraints imposed by such limited funds, as well as to b) adjust our employee needs to the financial realities we are facing.    We are grateful for the Board of Supervisors support of our request in the amount of $150,000, and will await your board’s final action in this regard” Lee responded in her letter to the Supervisors.

While the School Board appeared pleased to be a step closer to providing employees with a salary bonus, two School Board members stated their displeasure over the Supervisors decision to deviate from its stated policy of honoring School Board spending autonomy regarding the best use of carryover budget funding .

“I’m sorry but I don’t agree with the last sentence of the letter” said School Board member Jennifer Welliver (Berryville). “Am I the only one choking on the last sentence?”

Welliver’s comment referred to the last line of Lee’s letter to the Supervisors which reads   “We are grateful for the Board of Supervisors support of our request in the amount of $150,000, and will await your board’s final action in this regard.”

School Board Member Janet Alger (Russell) concurred. “I’m disappointed that we entrusted the money and now we’re only getting part of it back” Alger said. “I think that we should have a different plan in the future.”

However School Board member Robina Bouffault (White Post) said that she sees the Supervisors request more in terms of a fiscal cautionary statement rather than as an attempt to micro-manage school policy.

“I think that the Supervisors are just nervous about the economy and I don’t think that there was any intent to insult us“ Bouffault said.

At the end of the discussion the School Board unanimously approved Lee’s letter – less any provision stating that the School Board can find no better use for the $150K than a staff bonus.  Review of the School Board response and any subsequent release of the FY09 carryover funds will likely be considered at the Board of Supervisors next regular meeting on June 21.





  1. From the article:

    However School Board member Robina Bouffault (White Post) said that she sees the Supervisors request more in terms of a fiscal cautionary statement rather than as an attempt to micro-manage school policy.

    “I think that the Supervisors are just nervous about the economy and I don’t think that there was any intent to insult us“ Bouffault said.

    Robina seems a bit conciliatory. I wonder if she might be positioning for a run at a BOS seat?

    • Nope!

    • Naked Truth says:

      A part of me wishes she would. I like to smell fear from grown men.

      • GOPjunky says:

        I’m all for it!!! I live in Frederick Co. Robina and Pete live less than a mile from one another,,, i suspect there views and direction for the county are as close in proximity as there homes are to each other!!

        Must be the water…..

  2. GOPjunky says:

    Funny they are nervous about the economy but they wont allow any growth no matter how big or little to give the county some economic stability. The investment in this counties future is 0%. All around us things are happening. But why do I bother to post this same dead horse over and over again.. It will never change!

    Clarke County, a community full of cows and gas stations… lol funny what our supervisors have reduced us to…

  3. BlossomButt says:

    Maybe I am not understanding the entire procedure here, but……the schools had a carryover from previous years (i.e. spent less than budgeted) and now the BOS want the schools to explain how they are going to use the money? What is it any of their business? It was school funds, they did the responsible thing and only spent what they had to, versus other entities who spend every possible penny so their budget will not be reduced, and now they cant use those funds when they need them? At least not without explaining to MOM and DAD what the money is for? If I am understanding this correctly, this is a load of [redacted]!!!!

  4. My 2 Cents says:

    Maybe Pete Dunning should write a letter to the residents of Clarke and explain why he votes No on everything all the time!

    • livein22611 says:

      He would but he’s living in Florida right now. Ooops! Gee, don’t ya think it’s a good idea for the BOS to penalize people for saving?? But if it’s used for employees it can’t be used for conservation easements! The BOS wants land, not pay employees.

  5. Fly on the wall says:

    The simple fact is that – YES, Ms. Bouffault – the “letter” demanded by the supervisors IS a slap in the face of the very board you serve on thru December. For the schools to have to write such a letter, when the county staff admin does not, is a sad commentary on just what most of the supervisors truly thinks about the schools and the school board (which, thru December, does include you). Add in the bit about the school board having to state that it doesn’t want to “have the money available to avoid laying off over 2.0 FTEs) is disingenuous at best. The supervisors have NEVER liked it when “one-time money” was slated for an “on-going” obligation – yet they have spoken out fo both sides of their mouths on this one by incorporating caveat #3 above.

  6. Embarassed says:

    I’m trying to figure out why the School Board changed it’s original plan of basing the “bonus” on salary so those that make less get more. Tell me how someone making $60 or $70 thousand a year is gonna see a difference in their paycheck compared to those who make $30 thousand and get that $418 or more. Time the higher ups in the school system start thinking about the little guy who struggles to make a living and put food on the table and step back and let the lower income get the money. Just because they don’t have a degree doesn’t mean they aren’t as important or work as hard, or harder in some cases, than those making close to or are at the 6 figure income.
    And to Blossom Butt – those other agencies in the county have to spend every bit they get because the schools take up so much of the county budget that public safety, parks and rec, etc. – must spend every bit they get because their budgets are the first to get cut and they get hardly anything compared to what the schools get. The other parts of the county governement are actually short handed or cutting back on necessary things just to make budget!

    • “….Just because they don’t have a degree doesn’t mean they aren’t as important or work as hard, or harder in some cases, than those making close to or are at the 6 figure income…”

      Uh, you HAVE to have a degree to be a teacher.

      • Wateredown says:

        You have to have:

        courage, dedication, common sense, honesty…

        A willingness to:

        wear bullet proof vest, go into situations most wont, put your life on the line…. so the kids and teachers can be safe while at school and to and from…. were a gun to work – for the protection of life limb and property!!

        be prepared to:

        Duties of a Police Officer
        Here is short account of the different duties of a police officer.
        Protecting the life and property of people is the prime responsibility of a police officer. The legal system, in this case acts as a support for the police. The laws and ordinances passed by the country helps him approach a problem in a systematic manner.
        Patrolling the area assigned to him is one of the duties of a police officer. While on a routine patrol, the officer checks for any kind of violations of rules and regulations.
        A police officer also completes routine assignments delegated to him by the seniors officers. Ranging from conducting interrogations to carrying out searches, the assignments may be varied in nature.
        Answering complaints related to criminal activities and accidents also comes under the purview of a police officer.
        Handling the situation at the crime scene is another crucial task of the police officer. Collecting evidence pertaining to the crime, investigations, witnesses and many such activities are a part of a police officer’s duty. Police officers also provide first aid to people injured in accidents such as car crashes. They have to obtain written statements from the drivers of such vehicles. To remove the wreckage from the spot of an accident and handling the traffic is the duty of the traffic police.
        The police have to escort prisoners during their trials. Relaying the criminal to and from the court is one of the risky jobs handled by police officers.
        The activity of ‘community policing’ exercised by the police helps in keeping a watch on criminal activities and creating a safe atmosphere in the society.
        The police officers have to maintain the custody of evidences, property and records obtained in criminal cases.
        In few countries, the police are expected to intervene in criminal activities even if they are not ‘on duty’.
        The police have to tackle emergency situations like an outbreak of fire, with the support of fire brigades.
        Controlling mobs during riots is one of the important task for police officers. The mobs may become destructive at times, and maintaining law and order in such situations becomes very crucial.
        People who commit minor crimes are reprimanded by police officers. They may penalize the offenders by issuing citations. Citation is a kind of summon, issued ‘on the spot’ i.e., where the crime takes place. In case of violation of traffic rules, the police have the right to impose a fine.
        The police may assist those who face a car breakdown. People who face emergency medical situations can take the help of police officers by dialing helpline numbers. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is an emergency medical treatment given to victims of cardiac arrest. In many countries, police officers are trained in CPR.
        Police officers act as security guards during rallies, processions and important gatherings. Sometimes, the police has to provide security to VIPs. The VIPs may need security in life threatening situations.
        Park rangers are the police officers who look after the security of national parks. They have to provide security to people visiting the parks as well as protect the animals from illegal poaching.
        The police officers look after the security of airports and other public places.

        all while not getting summers, weekends and snow days off, working 8 hours a day…. Oh the poor teachers!!!! please not one of them could fill the shoes of our law enforcement officers!!!! take your 4 bucks and go away!!!

        • “…all while not getting summers, weekends and snow days off, working 8 hours a day…. Oh the poor teachers!!!! please not one of them could fill the shoes of our law enforcement officers!!!! take your 4 bucks and go away!!!”

          Nobody here is talking about the law enforcement officers. Besides, teachers aren’t trained to be law enforcment officers, so you’re comparing apples to oranges.

          Blame the BOS and the people that continue to elect them. They are the ones who keep things running on the cheap here.

          • Wateredown says:

            not true its all the same county tax money thats getting divided up.. not just about cops for me either.. how about we give the same amount of attention to all the county employees that get screwed by the BOS.. you may say its apples to oranges but its all the same fertilizer… $$$$$

            the bus driver, the mechanic, the cops, the teachers, the janitors, crossing guards, secretaries, computer techs, and so on and so on…..
            only teachers day in and day out [redacted] about their salaries and bonuses on here…

        • Roscoe Evans says:

          My father was a big city police captain. My wife is a teacher. I’ve seen plenty of cops and plenty of teachers, close up and personal, and your effort to compare the tasks of each is simply inane. Your insinuations respecting a teacher’s time on the job is so simplistic it is absurd.

          The teachers that I know work 10-12 hours a day, six days a week. They spend their snow days working on lesson plans for the possibility that they may need a sick day themselves, and they spend their summers taking classes to stay current with their majors and work specialties. If they travel, it’s most often to vacation spots that have some relevance to their teaching subjects. They spend freely on supplemental supplies and texts and teaching aides, and don’t expect or get reimbursements from the school system or tax credits for their expenses.

          I can’t think of a reason in the world why you would invidiously compare cops to teachers. We need them both, though your reasons (protecting airports and VIPs? in Clarke?), cut and pasted from somewhere else, are not convincing.

          • Wateredown says:

            [redcated] way to look out for your pop!!!! Like i dont spend all my days off in training, court or on overtime… Now you made me feel bad that teachers have to work on their snow days.. [redacted] i’m a jerk!!! I make the comparison because were all so worried about the teachers getting a 400 dollar one time payment…. but you dont see anyone else on here crying about there bonuses they just go to work….

            I don’t work in clarke,,, im worth more than clarke is willing to pay… i travel the mountain every day…. to get my worth so i dont have to beg for 400 dollars….

            10 – 12 hours a day….. my shift is 12 hours and 6 out of those 10 days it goes over…. I respect your dad but it ends there!!! [redacted]

          • Roscoe Evans says:

            I don’t care about your respect, or where you live or work. My point is simple: there’s no reason for you to compare yourself with teachers in a way that demeans them, or suggests that they are less worthy of pay increases than you are. Just a small point, but you get overtime and comp time; they don’t.


    • GOPjunky says:

      School systems always rape the counties their in.. Clarke schools just do it with worst results than other school systems.. Frederick does it to us also but we get allot more for our money than people in Clarke do…

      Not a teacher slam… directed toward equipment. Everything in the schools in Clarke looks like something our of the Smithsonian Institute..

      I’m use to thumbs down so I might as well say this as well… Instead of building a new school update the stuff we already have.. Computer labs, athletics, science labs etc.. Clarke will take the same antiquated old stuff and move it too the new school and claim they did something great for the kids!!!

  7. Stonebroke says:

    I’m probably going to say this person was referencing the many people that work for the school systems that don’t necessarily have a degree. (ex. janitors, bus drivers and whoever else I left out)

    • If’ there is someone who works for the school system that makes $30,000 that doesn’t have a degree, I don’t know who it would be.