Highland Supervisors Approve School Employee Bonuses
Monterey, VA – The Highland County Board of Supervisors was feeling the Christmas spirit Tuesday evening when they approved the School Board’s request to spend just over $34,000 in Federal Stimulus Funding for bonuses for school employees. The Christmas cheer continued as the Supervisors then approved $16,000 in bonuses for county employees.
At the November Board of Supervisors meeting, the School Board had asked for approval of a one step increase for teachers and a 2% salary increase for other school staff to be funded by Federal Education Jobs funds. The Supervisors did not support that request saying that it would add to the school budget request in future years when the stimulus funding was used up. Supervisors declined to commit county funds to this increase in future years in the middle of the budget year when there would be no public input on the proposal. So this month the School Board came up with a revised proposal of a 1 and % bonus for all school employees for this year, using the stimulus funding.
During the discussion that followed Board of Supervisors Chairman David Blanchard asked County Attorney Melissa Dowd to clarify the state’s conflict of interest statute as it applies in this instance, since his wife Julia, is a school faculty member. Ms. Dowd explained that since Mrs. Blanchard is a member of a qualified group receiving this bonus, that there is no conflict of interest for Mr. Blanchard to vote on this matter.
During the discussion of this issue The Supervisors said they were agreeable to approving that all of the stimulus funding be conveyed to the School Board at this time. However, Mr. Nowlin pointed out that this would require a public hearing, which would delay the bonus payments until after Christmas. So it is the School Board’s preference that just $34,000 of the stimulus funding be appropriated at this time. The motion to approve this appropriation for the school employee bonuses was approved by all three Supervisors.