Board of Education sign

The School Board is considering giving a one-time bonus to classified employees who work in support roles to educational programs and school system operations.

The board delayed action at its Oct. 14 meeting and will consider the issue again when it meets at 6 p.m. on Nov. 11 at the Board of Education Building, 215 South College St. in Winchester.

When the County Commission adopted the school system’s budget in August, it did not include a percentage raise for certified teachers and classified support personnel and no increase for bus contractors.

However, it did include degree advancements for certified teachers and step raises earned for certified employees.

The School Board is considering giving a $500 one-time bonus for full-time classified employees, $300 for part-time workers and $200 for bus drivers.

The big question the board is facing is determining eligibility requirements for who would receive the bonuses.

Board members agreed the employees should be with the system at least a full year before qualifying to receive a bonus.

Plans discussed included potentially giving the bonuses in December as a precursor to the holiday season which means eligible employees would have to have been working during the previous academic year.

School Board Chair CleiJo Walker said the board needed to receive more information before making a decision on the issue in November.

The school system has 243 full-time support employees with six working part-time.

The bonuses, plus a 20.47 percent fringe benefit that would allow the employees to receive the full bonus amount instead of paying a percentage of it in taxes, would cost slightly less than $150,000.

The School Board also agreed to raise the hourly wage rate for extended school program employees from $8 to $10.

The extended school program is a safe, affordable, Tennessee Department of Education licensed facility where children are cared for by a well-trained staff.

The program offers afternoon snacks, homework assistance, games, crafts and includes self-directed and group participation activities.

Director of Schools Stanley Bean said the program has had a personnel shortage, and raising the hourly wage might attract additional employees.

“Those we have are doing a good job, but we need to get more people,” he said.