Last updated: August 27. 2014 1:49AM - 330 Views
By Tanya Chilton

Elkin City Schools Finance Officer Jan Zachary discusses legislative budget issues during the Elkin City Schools Board of Education meeting.
Elkin City Schools Finance Officer Jan Zachary discusses legislative budget issues during the Elkin City Schools Board of Education meeting.
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During the Elkin City Schools Board of Education meeting Monday, Director of Business and Finance Services Jan Zachary said the North Carolina Legislature ultimately brought a 7.59-percent average raise in the teachers’ salaries, however did away with longevity pay.

In addition, in the final state budget, there were cuts to state funding in the central office, teacher assistant funding and at-risk student funding, said Zachary. Central office cuts took a three-percent cut; teacher assistant funding, a 20-percent cut; and at-risk funding, a 4.4-percent cut.

Zachary reported the teachers’ raises ranged from 0.29 percent to 18.51 percent.

Zachary said those teachers benefiting the most with a “30-step” scale used were sixth and seventh year teachers. Those educators showed an 18.5-percent pay raise.

A 10-year teacher showed an increase of 16.1 percent, however, after 15 years, a steady decline occurs in pay, said Zachary. For example at 30 years of experience, a teacher will receive only a .30-percent raise while at 31 years of experience, only a .29-percent raise is awarded.

Longevity is a percentage of state employee pay given that was initially granted as incentive pay for all employees but was cut in the kindergarten through 12 years for teachers and central office staff, said Zachary.

The longevity pay that is being cut is given after 10 years of working with the school system and can mean the difference in little things, such car tires, and those things are important, she emphasized.

She said longevity pay has never been cut during her 32 years of working for the school system. “It is sad to see our teachers lose their longevity because we like to retain our teachers for the long-haul. That money has helped them. I think the wrong message is being sent by taking longevity in place of a raise.”

Principals’ and assistant principals’ longevity stayed in place, and they did receive an average of a two-percent raise, she reported.

Zachary said with non-certified employees and central office staff only getting a $500 annual increase in pay flat with no bonus vacation days, it should be addressed.

Zachary said, all other state employees, such as those with colleges and universities, will receive a $806 to $1,000 pay raise, plus five bonus vacation days.

Zachary also noted that two years ago was the first time teachers had received a raise in six years.

She did say a positive teacher allotment also came about raising the teacher-to-student ratio to one per 17 students instead of one per 18.

Also in the board of education meeting, the financial personnel were recognized and given the State Board of Education Award for Excellent in Financial Management in the board spotlight.

Recipients were Zachary, ECS finance department employees, Joy Mathis and Kim Hooker; Elkin Elementary School Treasurer Phyllis Hinson; and Elkin Middle and High School Treasurer Kathy Ray.

It is the eighth year in a row ECS finance department has been recognized by the State Board of Education for excellence.

ECS Superintendent Dr. Randy Bledsoe said, “Our finance office under the leadership of Jan Zachary continues to be focused on making sure that all monies local, state and federal are best utilized for the betterment of student learning and the school system. Our local bookkeepers are doing a tremendous job with monies coming in and are to be complimented.”

Zachary has worked for ECS 32 years, Hinson 39 years and Ray, six years.

Zachary said, “The five people of the finance department have combined 137 years of experience and it shows.”

She said the finance department also has completed eight years of audits with no findings.

Tanya Chilton may be reached at 336-258-4058 or on Twitter @TanyaTDC.

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