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BOE passes supplemental pay policy

During their Sept. 5 meeting, Washington County Board of Education members unanimously passed on first reading a supplemental pay policy for school employees who are paid above and beyond their regular salary for their extracurricular work in certain activities such as coaching.
Included in the policy are school administrators, system supervisors, athletic coaches, cheerleading sponsors, yearbook sponsors, band and vocal music teachers, and career and technical education teachers.
While the policy is new, the practice is not. Supplemental pay was negotiated with the Washington County Education Association and ended when the employee’s contract expired. Now the Tennessee School Board Association is requiring the supplemental pay schedule be part of the system’s policies.
Mary Lo Silvers, chair of the Policy Committee, recommended approval of the policy and the corresponding schedule on first reading last week.
Board member Phillips McLain confirmed no new money is required. “When were the (amounts of) supplements last changed?” he asked.
Finance Director Beverly Thomas said two years ago.
“I don’t know how comfortable I am with having dollar amounts of salaries tied into the policy,” BOE Chair Chad Williams said.
While there was little discussion during the meeting, members of the BOE Athletics Committee spent a lot of time on the coaching supplements during their meeting two days earlier.
Director of Schools Ron Dykes provided a list of current athletic supplements that pertain to both high school and middle school coaches.
BOE member Keith Ervin asked how the supplements compared with surrounding systems. Dykes said the totals vary, but Washington County tries to align its amounts with Sullivan County.
According to Athletic Director Josh Kite, “Their head coaches make $2,500 more, but Washington County pays the assistant coaches more.”
“It looks to me like we’re spending a lot of money on track,” Ervin said, referring to the $12,000 paid in supplements among three head and three assistant coaches.
During the August meeting of the Athletics Committee, Daniel Boone High School Coach Len Jeffers asked members to consider adding supplements for the cross country assistant coaches.
BOE member Bill Brinkley asked if a coach receives more than one supplement if he or she coaches more than one team, and the athletic directors confirmed that is the current practice.
Dykes said the supplements are set for 2013-14, and the Athletics Committee members need to go to the Finance Committee if they want to consider adjustments for next year.
Brinkley wondered if supplements were a “big heartburn issue” during contract negotiations, but Dykes and Director of Human Resources Susan Kiernan thought a negotiated three-year step increase ended last year.
Dykes said other positions, such as yearbook sponsor, carry stipends that equal a $1 per hour rate. “Those are probably your best return,” he said.
Ervin and Brinkley both said the supplements need to be looked at when preparing next year’s budget, and Athletics Committee Chair Todd Ganger said the issue would be discussed in December.