COVINGTON, Ga. — In the wake of a labor shortage, Newton County Schools Board of Education members approved a one-time pay adjustment Tuesday night for teachers and staff to recognize “their dedication and commitment to students.”
The action included a temporary adjustment for teachers who cover classes during their planning time, temporary adjustments for substitute teachers, bus drivers and school nurses, and hiring and referral incentives.
As part of the board’s action:
• All employees will receive an additional $500 in October or November.
• Substitute teachers will receive an additional $50, and teachers will receive $25 per class covered during their planning period.
• Pay adjustment for school bus drivers will include a wage increase, raising the salary range to $19.01-$22.04 per hour. Current starting rate was $18.35 per hour.
• Pay adjustment for school nurses will include a wage increase, raising the salary range to $20.56-$33.05. Current starting rate was $17.81.
• Hiring incentives for nurses and bus drivers for FY 2022 will amount to $500 per hire.
• Referral incentives for nurses and bus drivers for FY 2022 will amount to $500 per referral.
The board action totals $2.45 million. Roughly $2 million is earmarked to be paid from ESSER III funds.
“Hiring and referral incentives along with a salary adjustment are included in an effort to recruit candidates for high-demand jobs which include school bus drivers and nurses,” Superintendent Samantha Fuhrey’s proposal stated.
Chief Academic Officer Benjamin Roundtree said staff shortages had gotten so bad recently that even administrators were having to cover classes.
“Just to illustrate how it has gotten with us needing subs so badly, I called a principal today and he did not answer,” Roundtree said. “He called me back and said, ‘Mr. Roundtree, I’m sorry I wasn’t able to answer. I’ve been covering classes all day today.’
“We just do not have enough substitute teachers,” he added.
Board member Shakila Henderson-Baker reminded the public that this issue wasn’t limited to just substitute teachers and Newton County Schools.
“This is every school across the state of Georgia and every school system across the nation,” she said. “This is bus drivers as well … There’s a labor shortage, and it’s hard to compete.”
In other business, board members also took action during its regularly scheduled work session to approve the purchase of a Nutanix Solution V4 network storage system from PC Solutions and Integration Inc., of Miami, Florida, in the amount of $197,209.01.
The Newton County Board of Education will hold its regular session meeting Tuesday, Sept. 21, at 6:30 p.m.