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Six Halifax County school administrators to get raises

After more than five hours behind closed doors Wednesday night, Halifax County School Board members approved raises for six administrators.

Halifax County High School Associate Principal Michael Lewis, Halifax County Middle School Principal Faye Bruce, South Boston Elementary Principal Sue Bagbey, Sydnor Jennings Elementary Principal David Duffer, Clays Mill Elementary Principal Sherry Cowan and Transportation Coordinator Earl Womack will see hikes in their pay totaling $20,122 effective July 1.

After calling the meeting to order Wednesday afternoon, trustees immediately went into closed session to discuss personnel as it relates to the budget, including employee salary adjustments.

After talking it over for five and a half hours, school board members emerged approving salary increases by a 5-3 vote. ED-2 trustee Karen Hopkins, ED-4 trustee Cheryl Terry and ED-8 trustee Walter Potts voted against the motion.

“Some of them had been overlooked, had been switched to different positions without salary adjustments, working at larger schools and had inconsistencies with years of service,” said Chairman Kimberly Farson of the six administrative salary adjustments Thursday. 

In all, salaries of 21 people have been affected totaling $35,826 in adjustments to the budget, Superintendent Dr. Merle Herndon said following Wednesday’s closed session.

In addition to the six administrators getting raises others impacted include, Stacey Zyla, Melissa Stewart, Scarlet Moore, Denise Morris, Sue Bamberg, Connie Slagle, Tammy Fisher, Joyce Townes, Robin Mahan, Donna Henderson, Erlene Sydnor, George Crews, Deborah Crenshaw, Floyd Fields and Gregory Donner.

School board members also approved the following motions Wednesday: 

w Adjusted salaries of six speech therapy pathologists totaling $12,000; 

w Approved changes for seven individuals’ positions totaling $13,586;

w Approved adjustments totaling $918 for two teaching positions with experience shortage; and

w Approved raises for six administrators’ salaries resulting from inconsistencies, size of schools and years of experience totaling $20,122.

ED-8 trustee Walter Potts offered an amendment to the motion that would have placed all employees at their current rate of pay eliminating any cuts. Potts’ motion would have affected employees whose work periods are being reduced from 12 months to 10 months due to administrative decisions.

However, that motion died by a 2-6 vote.

Potts disagreed with the administrative decision to adjust salaries earlier in the meeting.

“I feel like we’re balancing the budget on the backs of our tenured employees,” he said.

According to Farson, more than $1 million in personnel changes have been approved in the budget. 

“After being on the board for three and half years sometimes I have learned that I have to compromise,” she added. 

Although the 2 percent raise was not discussed for employees at the Wednesday meeting, the chairman said it is included in the budget that is expected to be finalized at the May 13 meeting.

School board members approved the 2013-2014 budget at its March 25 meeting.

In other business, board members discussed the possibility of closing Cluster Springs Early Learning Center at the end of this school year.

“We didn’t discuss the closing of the school we just wanted to see if any personnel were going to be affected (lose their jobs), and they will just be absorbed into the system…no one will lose their job,” added Farson.

Closing the early learning center will be discussed further during the May school board meeting set for Monday, May 13, at 6 p.m. at the Mary Bethune office complex.