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In ‘pay now or pay later’ move, contribution rate increased

Halifax County School Board signed a resolution to authorize an increase of the employer contribution rate to the Virginia Retirement System to a certified rate of 10.98 percent at the Halifax County School Board meeting Monday evening.

For the current school year, the school board paid an alternate rate of 7.33 percent, but according to Finance Director Jay Camp, they should have paid a certified rate of 10.43 percent. 

“The fact that we have used an alternative rate for this year, it’s our feeling that we go with the certified rate for the 14-15 year,” said Camp. 

Superintendent Dr. Merle Herndon said, “It’s kind of like pay now or pay later. If we do it two years in a row, we don’t want anything to snowball.” 

The increase from 7.33 percent to 10.98 percent is a $48,000 difference. 

The Board of Supervisors now has to sign a resolution acknowledging the change in the contribution rate.  

The board also approved Camp’s request to pay all employees over 12 months.  

According to Camp, currently 791 employees, or 90 percent of employees, are being paid over 12-months and 88 are either being paid over 10 or 11-months.

His rational for the change is “to keep our insurance policy for years and to have our health insurance in conjunction with the county’s.” 

Camp added, “We just talked with the county about coming together and saving some money for insurance.” 

Herndon said, “The bottom line is to streamline everything.”  

The school board also signed a resolution commemorating the 60th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Brown v. Board of Education.  

Also at the meeting, nine students were recognized with a certificate for their artwork that placed in the 2014 VSBA Southern Region Art Competition. 

In the elementary school category, second-grader Cameron Crews from Sydney Jennings Elementary School placed third for his artwork, “The Fly Away Hat.” Second place winner was Cluster Springs Elementary School fourth-grader Dalton Womble for his piece, “R.I.P.” and first place winner was Scottsburg Elementary School second-grader Emma Shepperd. 

In the middle school category, eighth-grader Isidra Serrano placed third for “Apples” and eighth-grader Tyra Murray placed second for “A Day on the Farm.” First place winner was eighth-grader Justin Moorer for “Fruit Medley.” 

Tenth-grader Joseph Majors placed third in the high school catergory for his piece “day at the beach” and eleventh-grader Malayshia Pamplin-Davis placed second for “Betelguese Garden.” First place winner was ninth-grader Blair Bomar for “Cardinal.”  

Herndon also reminded those present of the second annual staff appreciation event May 22 at 6 p.m. Recognition for years of service, teachers of the years and retirees will be given. Tickets at a cost of $16 can be purchased until Friday.