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NCSS employees to get bonus check
1% one-time check, increase paraprofessionals hours
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Newton County School system budget amendment recommendations

1. For all employees — A one-time 1% pay adjustment to be paid in a separate check in mid-January 2015 (This will work as it did last year)

2. An increase in the employer contribution to the 403b plan for TRS employees of 1% making the total contribution 1.5% beginning in January 2015

3. Restoration of the former “6-hour paraprofessionals” to 8 hours (they are now 7 hours paraprofessionals) — One hour was added in the FY 15 budget, and the final hour is added with this budget amendment

4. Implementation of Extended Learning Opportunities (ELOs) for students (this is a “one-time” allocation and serves to help support students as they are faced with more rigorous, high-stakes assessments this year and helps to prepare them to be college and career ready) -- Each school’s plan is specific to the needs of their students.

In an effort to gain good faith with its staff, the Newton County Board of Education approved to give teachers a one-time check in addition to their regular pay, add to their 403(b) retirement plan and increase the work hours for their elementary school paraprofessionals.

With unanimous approval from the board at Tuesday night’s work session, all employees in the Newton County School System (NCSS) will receive the extra check that will pay them one percent of their annual salary in January.

The total amount to be paid across the NCSS is $950,000, equaling out to an average of $450 being paid to each member of the system.

Also in January, the board will contribute $707,750 to contribute to the 403(b) plan— a supplemental retirement plan that replaces Social Security. This will work to raise the contribution back up to 1.5 percent, which is the highest contribution amount the NCSS has had since July 2010. 

Overall, the plan is raise the contribution to five percent of teacher’s salaries and the annual cost moving forward will be about one million dollars.

All adjustments will be paid by taking money out of the fund balance. Tuesday’s approved adjustments will decrease the fund balance to $20.5 million by the end of this school year. This would be a $1.8 million drop from where the balance was at the beginning of the school year.

Paraprofessionals will work one extra hour in the coming second semester of the school year at a cost of $107,861. Beginning in the 2015-16 school year, the cost will grow to $232,700 and will cover paraprofessionals working two more days and an extra hour for the entire school year.

“Thank you to the board for supporting our recommendations regarding the budget amendments,” said Newton County Schools System Superintendent Samantha Fuhrey.

See more on this story in Sunday's print edition of The Covington News.