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School district gives workers one-time pay boost

SUWANEE -- Looking at the next fiscal year, leaders with the Gwinnett County Board of Education said they want teachers to stay positive despite possibilities of further budget cuts.

Chief Human Resources Officer Frances Davis said she can understand the frustration of district employees.

"You have morale issues from teachers who are concerned about the economic environment that educators are facing," said Davis Thursday during the monthly work session. "They've not had a raise in four or five years ... but great leaders continue to engage our staff, and we're doing our best to support them. We will get through these tough times."

Despite tough times, the district voted Thursday night to give some employees a little good news.

After learning from the district's chief finance officer Thursday that 2012 property tax collections have come in slightly above the amount anticipated, the board voted to use $4.3 million to give all full-time employees with benefit-eligibility a one-time salary adjustment.

Every eligible employee will receive a salary adjustment in the amount equal to one full day's earnings at his or her current daily rate. It will be paid in a lump sum in November. The average GCPS teacher will receive about $300 in a one-time payment.

School Board member Carole Boyce said she was "so thrilled to give a little funding to show a little appreciation to our people. They give so much each and every day. It is nice to be able to be recognized for something you do."

Rick Cost, the district's chief financial officer, delivered the news about the extra tax revenue. He also spoke with board members during the work session earlier Thursday regarding the current fiscal year budget.

He said that, so far, the district has not exceeded its expenditures for FY 2013.

Special purpose local option sales tax collections have been coming in at about mid-level projections, the general fund budget remains at about $100 million and local revenue has not declined by as much as he had anticipated.

"For this year we are confident we will bring in some extra tax revenue ... possibly about $4.5 million," Cost said. "All sources for the current budget are trending at or above budgeting."

The board seemed pleased with the current numbers but wary of the future.

School board member Dan Seckinger said the district has "an enormous challenge in doing something to continue to boost morale ... the way things have transpired recently. That's a great concern of mine."

He referenced the state's Qualified Basic Education formula, which according to a report prepared by district staff, has caused $632.4 million in reductions to GCPS since 2003.

The austerity cuts are one item that the board plans to discuss with state leaders Dec. 3 during the annual 2013 Legislative Program at Rhodes Jordan Park in Lawrenceville.

The annual meeting gives GCPS board members and staff a chance to stress their priorities to visitors from the Capitol.

Among other items listed for discussion:

-- The board's requests to maintain local control in the areas of local revenue sources, charter schools, curriculum and calendar.

-- Fiscal and school improvement initiatives such as tax reform, tax exemptions, Race to the Top, vision for public education in Georgia and health benefits costs.

Comments

ptm4936 1 year, 5 months ago

Giving everyone the same one-time boost encourages mediocrity. Bad teachers got the same encouragement as great teachers. But probably acceptable as Gwinnett moves towards "fairness".

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MissDaisyCook 1 year, 5 months ago

As Ms. Davis provides, morale is an issue. However, it is more about her slanted and preferential treatment of her "chosen" staff, teachers and administrators than it is about pay.

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2teach 1 year, 5 months ago

Thank you! I am grateful for whatever GCPS gives me. I make less now than I did seven years ago, and I work much longer hours because we've lost so many teachers and support staff. My family barely gets by each month. I hope the public will not begrudge us this small token.

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kevin 1 year, 5 months ago

What about the folks that pay your salary? The private business is also less salary.

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JoeCobb 1 year, 5 months ago

You do realize teachers pay taxes too right? Therefore tax paying teachers actually pay part of their salary.

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kevin 1 year, 5 months ago

Glad people are getting raises again, or am I? Is this a raise or a Christmas gift, which is illegal? A "boost" isn't a salary increase. A salary increase is a permanent thing. I believe the BOE has "disguised" this as a Christmas gift and it should be rules against the law. Public employees are not allowed to get gifts with taxpayer money.

I think the AG should look into this or be held incompetent.

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Why_not 1 year, 5 months ago

No one has called it a gift but you......

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LoganvilleResident 1 year, 5 months ago

You've got to look at the source of the comment. Kevin is the same person that thinks government employees waive their first amendment rights when they are on government payroll.

A comment like this from him does not surprise me.

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kevin 1 year, 5 months ago

explain the word "boost." It sure isn't a payroll raise now is it. It is a gift.

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VCole 1 year, 5 months ago

Everybody begrudges government employees....till they need something like the library, water, sewer, police, soccer field, a pothole fixed on the street, a traffic light not working....and oh yes.....our precious children's eduation.

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kevin 1 year, 5 months ago

What education. At $10,000+ per student a year? Multiply the facts from K-12. The educational results can't be compared to the awards private schools get in this county.

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VCole 1 year, 5 months ago

Well its like mama alays said....you cant fix stupid....

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R 1 year, 5 months ago

How about calling a reduction in the furlough days forced on the school staff by one?

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Gwinnettsince1991 1 year, 5 months ago

Teachers and school staff,

Thank you for all you do. I know the past five years have been brutal with loss in pay and more students in your classroom. You have educated my children very well and they are good students and good people. I hope you know, politics aside, that many parents of Gwinnett county appreciate all you do each and every day.

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Why_not 1 year, 5 months ago

Too many people view "government workers" as non-productive parasites that do nothing more than take money from taxpayers. Teachers, police officers, firefighters, and other public employees are extremely valuable to our society and should be treated as such. Most public employees do the work that most would not do yet they constantly complain about having to pay taxes to fund the salaries. Give credit where credit is due.....thank you to all our public employees in Gwinnett County.

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kevin 1 year, 5 months ago

only some and there are some in each of the areas you listed.

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kevin 1 year, 5 months ago

why don't they apply to work at a private school? Would someone answer that question for us? This is important to this discussion. I can add some reasons they jump to the public sector for jobs. Higher pay, annual raises (past history), a nice pension, sick & annual leave, hard to get fired. Now you all can add your reason for not going to a private school to teach

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galofthe80s 1 year, 5 months ago

Many teachers who have looked for jobs in the past 5 years have applied at both public and private schools...I know I did, and I had friends who did. I accepted a job a public school because it was in my community and because the administration supports their special ed students (I teach special ed). I also know that there are many families who, due to the economy, have had to pull their children out of private school and place them back in public school. When that happens, more teachers are needed in the public schools. So many factors come into play in the issue you are discussing...the economy, student enrollment, services provided/taught, personal preference, etc.... There are people who regardless of their household income continue to send their children to public school. Private school is a choice that not everyone chooses.

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CitizenSally 1 year, 5 months ago

If you give a mouse a cookie. . . . . In response to Ms. Daisy, I guess Dr. Davis' preferential treatment goes to everyone since all of GCPS is receiving the pay. The system did not have to do this. But I for one appreciate the fact that instead of two furlough days of pay being deducted I will get one day of pay back. I also recognize that we are much better off then many of the other school systems and I am grateful for the money management. But this is also a result of an increase in Gwinnett revenue and this to me is a good sign for GCPS, Gwinnett County and hopefully the economy. So please continue to spend your dollars in Gwinnett, support your local school system. I appreciate the effort to respond to the needs of the employees in Gwinnett.

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specialedpara 1 year, 5 months ago

That is great GCPS are putting an effort in but there are alot more people involed not just the Teachers. WE ALL SHOULD BENIFIT, we work just as hard as the teachers, if not more.

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ntstar4 1 year, 5 months ago

Should be for all Public Service Police, Sheriffs Dept and Fire, not just teachers

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LoganvilleResident 1 year, 5 months ago

Your idea is a wonderful idea... but the Board of Education does not pay those particular positions.

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galofthe80s 1 year, 5 months ago

Correct...if you read your annual property tax statement, you will see that there is a separate line item tax for schools that goes to fund education. The County Board of Commissioners would be responsible for any decisions on the other public agencies mentioned above.

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2teach 1 year, 5 months ago

Teachers were furloughed Oct. 8th (two more furlough days are scheduled for 2012 and one in 2013). That means we didn't get to work, and we didn't get paid. This isn't a Christmas bonus or a pay raise. The board of education is basically giving us back the money we normally would have earned had that day not been removed from the school calendar. As for the timing of it, the tax payers' money we are being paid can be taxed this year to help fund 2013. The board of education cannot give money to the police dept., sheriff's dept., or fire dept.

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pcjohn 1 year, 5 months ago

And yet your leader, Wilbanks, can dispense school funds to the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce ? Why you teachers aren't howling over that waste of school money is beyond me. Scared, maybe?

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VCole 1 year, 5 months ago

Why would someone become a teacher today? I know alot of you teachers do it for the self satisfaction...but really .....government jobs are not what they use to be.....and its not just gwinnett not giving pay raises.....thanks for all the teachers for sticking it out...you are appreciated.....

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kevin 1 year, 5 months ago

why don't they apply to work at a private school? Would someone answer that question for us? This is important to this discussion. I can add some reasons they jump to the public sector. Higher pay, annual raises (past history), a nice pension, sick & annual leave, hard to get fired. Now you all can add your reason for not going to a private school to teach.

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VCole 1 year, 5 months ago

Kevin.....what country you from son?............

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Why_not 1 year, 5 months ago

Poor Kevin must have a drinking problem..

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gwinnettresident1 1 year, 5 months ago

I see that Gwinnett bus drivers arent getting anything. Its been five years for us also. I guess we will continue to make our 15000 a year and keep our mouth shut. If it were not for the bus drivers the wonderful teachers would have no one to teach. Sorry no one ever thinks of us. Oh well

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R 1 year, 5 months ago

They would teach the car rider students ...

Not quite 50 percent, but not enough to draw state funds...

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gwinnettresident1 1 year, 5 months ago

Sorry but car riders dont even come close to 50% i dont know where your head is burried. 50% of 150 thousand students would be 75000. Then we wouldnt need 2000 buses for the rest....

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R 1 year, 5 months ago

YOU ever get stuck or sit in the ENDLESS lines of traffic around EACH school morning/evening? I work the roads where are YOU?

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gwinnettresident1 1 year, 4 months ago

Sitting in the bus waiting in line to deliver little Johnny to shcool....I know where i am....You need to look at the number of buses on the road v the school population...All the buses are full.

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ladybug9470 1 year, 5 months ago

I agree with gwinnettresident1.

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gwinnettresident1 1 year, 5 months ago

Did i read that right...Teachers are making 1500 dollars a week....Dang....there is our money!

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Mack711 1 year, 5 months ago

Yeah that is a lot of money, but do not think that is correct. Wilbanks makes about $5,800 per week or $300,000 per year. On top of that he also has an expense account if the article in the AJC is correct. Now THAT is where the money is. BTW does Wilbanks take any furolugh days?

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momofmany 1 year, 5 months ago

Actually, for 2011, Wilbanks' salary was a meager $410K...poor thing. That's up from his 2010 salary of $390K. Not sure what salary he's drawing for this year.

www.open.ga.gov

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Why_not 1 year, 5 months ago

Where did you see that in the article?

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gwinnettresident1 1 year, 5 months ago

Every eligible employee will receive a salary adjustment in the amount equal to one full day's earnings at his or her current daily rate. It will be paid in a lump sum in November. The average GCPS teacher will receive about $300 in a one-time payment.

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Say_that_again 1 year, 5 months ago

But you need to remember that teachers do not get vacation pay and are currently only paid for the 187 days of work per year (three furlough days without pay). This puts the average annual salary at about $56100. Salaries are posted at http://www.gwinnett.k12.ga.us/careers/careershr.nsf/010d64ffdfc63566852571dc0061d644/5d1dfad1cd332b0b852571e0006cb5c7?OpenDocument&0~Careers&0~QuickLinks if you are interested. Salaries scales for fully certified teachers starts at only $37,819, less furlough days, well below the median income for Georgia and below average college graduate starting salary.

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JoeCobb 1 year, 5 months ago

Teachers are only paid for contracted days. Most contracts are around 190 days of pay. They are not paid during the "summer months", or furlough days or other breaks. Yes, while the average daily rate is around $300, it does not equal to 1500 a week every week all year. An average salary of 57,000 is what you are seeing. That takes into account teachers with 30+ years of experience.

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SurelyNot 1 year, 5 months ago

Why ya'll so mad? Wish your boss would give you a boost? Yep. So do I. But I don't begrudge the teachers. Lord knows they deserve everything they get for teaching our kids...we've done such a good job of raising nice kids...and we act so nice when we go to school. Yep. They deserve every dime.

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gwinnettresident1 1 year, 5 months ago

They do deserve the raise...They do a wonderful job teaching. I am just saying that some of the important people need something also. People that perpare the food, people that keep the school clean for these wonderful respectful children. The bus driver spend 8 hours a day on a bus transporting 452 children to and from school..

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NewsReader 1 year, 5 months ago

I am amazed at the level of stupidity you people allow yourselves to demonstrate. Good thing your true identity cannot be revealed.

Nothing is encouraging mediocrity. It is what it is, and mediocrity is what you get when you send your child to a government school. But I don’t blame the teachers for this. I blame this gutless inept excuse of a school administration for it. When people seek out Private School for their child, they are paying, in part, for a better than their public school counterpart. Otherwise, why pay for substandard results when you can get mediocrity for free?

You people that didn’t benefit from this money? Get over it and get over yourself. It’s not about you. Consider this a token of appreciation and an attempt to boost morale within the school system.

People dislike government employees because so many of them demonstrate a government employee mentality. Most people respect teachers, officers, paramedics, and firefighters, etc., but have a disdain for those at the administration level, on the side of the road, or other such place they are consistently witnessed where one is doing the work, and ten are standing around watching them or shooting the bull.

Kevin, people go to work for the Private School for reasons besides money and benefits, the least of which is putting up with irrational bureaucracy, ridiculous rules, and a student population that is completely disrespectful and rude, irresponsible, and impede the learning process with their obnoxious behavior only to be outdone by their parents as the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. As Joe Clark says, “…kick those ba$tard$ outta here…” On another note, please go join another political party or start one of your own. It is for people like you that we continue to lose at the polls. Yeah, go get the AG involved…now there’s a solution for ya. Do you actually think anything through before you press the Enter key?

For those of you that don’t understand which government entity is responsible for what services, then the only thing I can say for you is that you can’t fix stupid. You obviously didn’t learn it while you were in school, so there is little expectation that you will learn it now.

Look, this is a “damned if you do…damned if you don’t” scenario. I am pleased that this money will be utilized to shore up teacher’s shortfalls rather than the other useless inept causes the BOE so chooses to support. And you better start being nice to these teachers, because there will become a point where sufficient numbers of them will tire of it, and retire from it leaving you with leftovers to get the job done. But short of your Property Taxes, your child’s education is free. You get what you pay for!

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