School Board sign

As a means to potentially reduce special-education assistant turnover, the School Board has agreed to offer a one-time bonus to be paid in June at the end of the academic year.

Linda Foster, human resources supervisor, said that the School System has 47 special-education assistants with 14 of them aiding students who have specific physical needs which make the job scope way more demanding.

She said the program has a high turnover rate, but if the assistants were given a bonus at the end of the year based on their hourly rate, it would probably serve as an incentive for them not to leave the program early.

Foster proposed that the assistants who deal with regular special-education students get a $1-per-hour bonus while those who handle students with special physical needs get a $2-per-hour bonus.

She said the bonus would be $1,260 to assistants who accommodate the regular special-education students, and those who handle those with special physical needs would get an additional $2,520.

“It’s an attempt to pay them for what they do,” Foster said, adding that the specific duties of special-education assistants are very diverse and challenging, totally driven by the specific needs of the students.

She said the turnover throughout the course of a given school year tends to be high, and giving the assistants a financial incentive would reduce turnover and subsequent changes to special-education programs.

The board agreed to the additional compensation.

The board also agreed to consider pay hikes for maintenance personnel who have higher academic degrees and skill-level credentials.