By Richard Sullins | firstname.lastname@example.org
Leadership for the Lee County Board of Education is on the agenda at the body’s next meeting, set for Tuesday, Dec. 14.
Republican Sandra Bowen has served as board chair since December 2020, and the current vice chair, Christine Hilliard, was elected to her position the same year time as a Republican before switching parties in September. Democrats now control the board by a 4-3 margin.
The board will also do its monthly review of the district’s masking policy for students, teachers, staff, and visitors. But as COVID numbers are on the rise again, a change in the policy seems unlikely this month.
Board members voted November 9 to leave the current masking mandate in place until 10 consecutive calendar days of “moderate-level” transmission of the COVID virus have been recorded in the county. After the most recent surge that occurred through Labor Day weekend, infection rates had continued to fall and there was optimism that masking could end soon.
But five days after Thanksgiving, 95 of the state’s 100 counties – including Lee – had returned to “high-level” community transmission. The percentage of tests returned from labs with a positive doubled in just two weeks, rising from 3.13 percent just before the holiday to 7.77 percent on December 10.
The school board will also consider an employee retention bonus plan that was approved by its Finance Committee last Wednesday, one that would provide an additional $2,000 bonus to all full-time employees, both certified and classified employees.
The plan would also set up a tiered system for substitute teachers that would be pro-rated on the number of days they have spent in the classroom. Substitutes would be divided into four groups, with those having the most days to receive a $2,000 bonus. Those in the remaining three groups would receive either $1,500, $1,000, or $500 based on their days of service.
Funding for the plan would come from federal dollars provided by the U.S. Department of Education’s ESSER (Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief) Fund and have no impact on the county budget. If the board approves, these bonuses could be paid before the Christmas break.
The meeting is set for 6 p.m. on Tuesday in the Jimmy Love Sr. Board Room at Lee County High School.
Instead of giving bonuses, why don’t they use that money to put mechanical air sanitizers in the schools. Upgrade the HAVAC Systems with UV Light to neutralize all airborne bacteria and viruses. Do something with the money that actually improves the health safety of all students and staff.
do you work for the school system and realize how hard these teachers and staff have worked through this pandemic. These bonuses are fully deserved.
i think a lot of us have worked extra hard during the pandemic….some more than others for sure….and some teachers do not measure up so I hope the bonus’ are on merit….but they won’t be….one size fits all in socialism.
Lol “paying teachers is socialism”
I served in the Army for 25 years and fought in 2 wars. and earned much less than teachers. I never got a two month vacation every year, I never had every weekend off, I never got to do my job remotely either. I do think teachers are underpaid however these funds are supposed to be for COVID related issues to improve learning for underprivileged children, children with learning disabilities, assist school districts in upgrades to facilitate adjustments made as a result of COVID, (Like UV Light systems). Let’s be honest. No teachers went unpaid over the last two years, no teachers lost their jobs. There are many families that lost their jobs or had to quit because their children had to stay home to learn on zoom. Many of these families had to get computers and internet capable of supporting the zoom classes. SO don’t act like the teachers are economically suffering because they still got paid, they still had their government insurance benefits and all the other perks that come from being a government employee, while many Sanford families lost everything all because their children had to stay home instead of going to school. The teachers are getting a significant pay raise from the state and now they are getting bonuses all while nothing is being done to actually make the schools safer for the students to return to school without having to wear masks all day which do nothing to prevent the spread of any viruses.
exactly. I just scrolled up and saw your comment. I say the exact same thing. The state budget has provided raises.
That raise was a complete joke!
My son is ready to burn his mask. He hates it.
not to take away from teachers, but is a bonus really supposed to come out of emergency funds? I think making building improvements, like UV lights or metal detectors seem more appropriate. The state budget has provided raises, has it not? The UV light therapy or whatever it is called, seems more appropriate. The lights that kill germs? Or is that going against the never-ending mask mandates so loved by the majority…..