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May 28, 2024 11:15 pm

School maintenance staff to receive salary increase

GOLDSBORO — Wayne County Public Schools maintenance employees will receive a $260 per month pay increase.

In an effort to make salaries more competitive and potentially reduce vacancies, board member Patricia Burden made a motion to essentially bump maintenance staff up one salary grade level in order to help increase salaries for staff. Board member Don West recused himself from the vote, which was unanimously approved.

Much discussion among board members followed with questions to district leadership regarding the impact of such a motion and how future hires could improve themselves professionally to make a similar bump in salary grade level. After some debate about the wording of the motion, Vice-Chair Craig Foucht expressed concern about the process being considered by the board.

He contended that the issue that the board was attempting to address was specific to salaries rather than salary grade levels. He then proposed that the board simply increase the monthly salaries for staff, and then create professional development opportunities for staff interested in moving to a higher salary grade level. While Foucht initially suggested a retention bonus to allow time for the board to determine the appropriate amount to increase salaries, board members settled on a $260 monthly salary increase for staff which could be absorbed this year through available funds from vacant positions.

Burden withdrew her motion and noted that she wanted more information from the finance department before agreeing to any further motions regarding salary increases. Board member Len Henderson expressed concern about the perception of increasing salaries for one department over others.

Vice Chair Foucht motioned to implement a $260 monthly salary increase for maintenance staff, which will be reflected in their February paycheck. Seconded by Board member Tommy Sanders, the motion passed 4-2. Voting in favor were Foucht, Bill Joyner, Chair Wade Leatham and Sanders. Voting against were Burden and Henderson. West abstained.

Executive Director of Accountability/Technology Support Services and Program Evaluation Robert Yancey presented a draft 2023-2024 Carver Heights Elementary Calendar and a 2023-2024 WCPS Non-Traditional Academic Calendar. He then shared guidelines and other considerations that the WCPS Calendar Committee took into account as part of the calendar development process. He also noted that a minor technical correction would be incorporated into the final calendar once approved by the board. After some discussion, the board unanimously approved both academic calendars.

Youlonda Wynn, director of federal programs, shared an update on how the district is Assisting and Supporting CSI and Low Performing Schools. Wynn detailed seven strategies which are formative in nature to help school and district leaders identify data trends and what professional development or coaching is needed to help teachers improve instruction and learning outcomes for students.

Christy White, Title IV enrichment facilitator, shared a brief update on Special Olympics Unified Schools, a program being considered by WCPS.

White then shared an update about the district’s process for replacing band instruments and uniforms. She shared that Charles B. Aycock High was recommended as next in line for new uniforms and Rosewood High, Spring Creek High, Mount Olive Middle and Eastern Wayne Middle are recommended as next in line for new instruments.

Actual purchase of these items depends on the availability of funds in the budget for the coming year. West questioned the selection rubric and its purpose, noting that a high school with the highest needs in both the uniform and instrument categories will only be receiving support in one area. Committee members responded that it was their direction to spread support to as many school bands as possible based on available funding rather than limiting the support to a single school.

The board proclaimed Feb. 6 – 10 as School Counselors Week. Members of the Wayne County School Counselors Association, the WCPS district lead school counselor and district administrators stood during the reading of the proclamation on behalf of all WCPS school counselors and the work that they do daily in their comprehensive school counseling programs.

The board also proclaimed February as School-Based Health Care Awareness Month in recognition of the WISH Program’s 25 years of service and continued commitment to promoting student health WISH Centers in seven schools. Members of the WISH Board and WISH Center staff stood during the reading of the proclamation.

The following staff members were recognized with a Board Spotlight for the following achievements: NCCAT 2023 Empower Beginning Teacher of the Year Finalist, Beth Rose (Mount Olive Middle); newly certified national board certifications, Amy Edwards (Eastern Wayne Elementary) and Laura Dean (Eastern Wayne Elementary) and maintenance of certification, Toni Tadlock (Mount Olive Middle), Jessica Knowles Brock (Mount Olive Middle), Kimberly Hughes (Charles B. Aycock High), Kirsten Thomas (Charles B. Aycock High), Thomas Zietlow (Charles B. Aycock High), Deborah Williams (Charles B. Aycock High), Melissa Wise (Rosewood Elementary) and Karri Jernigan (Tommy’s Road Elementary).

As part of the school district’s ongoing efforts to bridge the gap between school and work, three items of business were presented and approved by the board. These were updates to the Local CTE Articulation Agreement between Wayne County Public Schools and Wayne Community College, addition of Spring Creek High to the district’s MOA for the Public Safety – Law Enforcement Program with the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office and College & Career Preparation Software.

As part of the final presentation, Kevin Smith, director of secondary education, shared key statistics for why earlier career exploration was needed. He then shared how a new software platform will target grades six-12, and essentially provide students with digital resources and information about possible careers and post-secondary opportunities that fit their unique personality and interests.

Because not all students take CTE courses, Joyner expressed a concern about the implementation and the potential impact on some core area teachers who may be asked to provide students time to use the platform. Smith said each school will have input on how best it would like to rollout the platform at their individual locations to ensure that all six-12 students benefit from the program and that all staff share in its implementation.

Dr. Yvette Smith Mason, assistant superintendent for human resources and professional development, presented contracts with two companies that can provide certified teachers from other countries to support schools with vacancies in hard to fill positions: Global Teaching Partners, LLC and Global Recruitment, LLC.

Much discussion followed about the contracts’ costs, Visa sponsorship opportunities and district responsibilities, and challenges with keeping quality teachers who have to leave the district because their Visa expires. Mason expressed that the teachers that will be recruited through the contracts will be certified, and can be used as a strategy to replace the synchronous hybrid virtual instructional platform in place that is in place in two schools. The board eventually tabled the Global Teaching Partners, LLC contract until more information could be gathered. The Board approved the Global Recruitment, LLC contract in a 6-1 vote, with Joyner voting against.

Dr. Tim Harrell, assistant superintendent for support services, presented a public auction bid for the district’s Holly Street property, previously purchased by the former Goldsboro City Schools. Some board members expressed concerns that the bid, at $1,000, was a tenth of the value of the property. Joyner motioned to reject the bid, and hold onto the property until the board makes a decision at a later time. The motion passed unanimously.

Superintendent David Lewis presented a Donation Report with 35 donations, which were unanimously accepted by the board. Monetary donations received totaled $8,150.50, ranging from $25 to Wayne Middle High Academy to $5,000 to Carver Heights Elementary.

Non-monetary donations received totaled $3,518, ranging from $13 in icepacks for the Fremont Elementary school nurse’s office to $900 in reading nooks at Carver Elementary. As noted in the Donation Report, WCPS has received $71,989.73 in monetary donations and $61,778 in non-monetary donations since the start of this fiscal year (July 1, 2022).

— From the Wayne County Board of Education website