The Covington City School Board convened Monday evening for a special called meeting/work session to address the salary pay scales of the staff and faculty of the Covington City School System.
The heart of the salary pay scale discussion comes from the efforts of the Covington Education Asso-ciation (CEA) that is led by President Desiree Landers and Vice President Steve Dressler.
The main concern of the CEA and the fellow staff and faculty members was the fact that a majority of the employees have been frozen on their current step of the salary pay scale for the past seven years.
Covington City Schools Superintendent Melinda Snead-Johnson then took time to address those attending the meeting to further discuss the salary situation.
“Thank you all for coming. I like the red [the color worn as a symbol of solidarity], I like the passion and I know we have a room full of passionate and dedicated employees,” Snead-Johnson stated.
Snead-Johnson then stated that she was grateful for the staff and faculty that work for the Covington City School System. She also said she was appreciative of the support the school system receives from the community.
Later in her remarks, Snead-Johnson made a declaration regarding the salary pay scale.
Snead-Johnson declared, “I believe that it is time to move forward with the implementation of the salary scales that were presented in September  by our school board.”
She continued, “I believe that we need to move forward in that every staff member needs to be on the salary scale that they need to be on.”
Snead-Johnson stated that she and Rebecca Irvine, who oversees the finances for the school board, worked over the recent two-day spring break to see that this takes place.
It was also stated by Snead-Johnson that Irvine worked on a budget and monies have been found to make sure that all faculty and staff will be put on their appropriate scale.
“It is important that you know, that I feel as a division superintendent, that you deserve to be where you should be,” Snead-Johnson said.
To conclude her address, Snead-Johnson stated, “It is time to be on one scale.”
Following Snead-Johnson’s address, Irvine provided a breakdown of a preliminary budget for the fiscal year of 2018-2019.
That budget includes an amount of $11,134,136, for school operations, $484,014 for the cafeteria and $68,201 for the textbook fund, which is a total of $11,686,351.
Irvine also stated in her breakdown that state funds for the fiscal year of 2018-2019 are based on an Average Daily Membership (ADM) of 965.
That ADM number was increased from the original number of 958.4, and that increase resulted in a net increase of $38,582 for operations and $467 for textbooks.
Irvine continued by stating state funding in the amount of $68,201 has been included in the textbook fund for the fiscal year 2018-2019 budget.
That amount could be used for operations if not needed for textbooks.
It was also stated that $10,736 of state funds have been transferred to the cafeteria funds, since the funding is targeted for child nutrition.
A total local appropriation increased by $129,285 from the preliminary budget projection.
However, other funds are projected to decrease based on reduced funding from The Alleghany Foundation for nursing services.
Among the other items discussed in the preliminary budget, the following salary increases are listed:
— Head Guidance positions at Covington High School and Jeter-Watson Intermediate School increased to 240 days at a cost of $15,561;
— Approved salary realignment for all 66 teachers not at the top of the scale at a cost of $212,546;
— Approved salary realignment for all four principals at a cost of $28,947;
— Approved salary realignment for the following classified staff not at the top of the scale: four school secretaries at a cost of $25,825; 17 instructional aides at a cost of $19,315; two nurses at a cost of $5,148; three custodians at a cost of $2,796; one maintenance staff member at a cost of $1,701; seven cafeteria staff members at a cost of $4,897.
Following Irvine’s breakdown of the preliminary fiscal year 2018-2019 budget, Dressler and Landers were among those who took time during public delegations to thank the school board for their efforts and allowing them to have a voice in this matter regarding salary pay scales, which drew applause from their colleagues in attendance.
After the meeting, Landers stated, “ I feel a lot better than I thought I was going to feel. I’m not 100 percent. When I see it [pay scale realignment], I’ll believe it.”
Landers also stated that she felt assurances based on the comments Snead-Johnson made during the meeting.
When asked about how he feels, Dressler stated, “Astonished! Especially compared to the previous board meeting. This is what we’ve been working for two years.”
Dressler continued, “I can’t thank Mrs. Snead-Johnson enough. Again, when I see it [salary realignment], I’ll believe it.”