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School workers will get extra pay for covid work

by I.C. Murrell | February 11, 2021 at 2:45 a.m.
White Hall School District Superintendent Doug Dorris is shown in this January 2021 file photo.

Employees in the White Hall School District will receive incentive pay through enhanced student achievement funding.

Superintendent Doug Dorris told School Board members on Tuesday that faculty members will receive the pay for the extra work they put in beyond school hours as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. On-site and virtual instruction for students “in addition to providing opportunities for on-site students that have pivoted home to continue instruction” has increased the workload of educators and staff members, Dorris said.

The Arkansas Department of Education provided the funding to school districts for one-time compensation, and Dorris stressed the pay is not a yearly bonus.

There are four phases of funding:

Phase 1: Additional compensation equaling $1,000 for certified employees (certified employees must complete an affidavit certifying they have engaged in additional activities because of the pandemic);

Phase 2: Classified district employees working a minimum of 7½ hours per day between Aug. 14 and March 19 will receive an additional $750;

Phase 3: Classified employees working fewer than 7½ hours per day between Aug. 14 and March 19 will receive an extra $450; and

Phase 4: Food service employees will receive $225 and a matching donation of $225 from Chart-wells, the food service provider of White Hall schools.

Workers qualifying for phases 1-3 will receive the extra pay March 19. Food service providers will be compensated in May.

In other district news:The White Hall School Board was named an Arkansas School Boards Association Master Board. The board received a plaque commemorating each member’s completion of at least 50 hours of continuing education from the association.

The board approved a district handbook policy regarding student names. The policy reads: “On all school related documentation, student(s) will be listed by their legal name and biological sex, as it appears on their birth certificate. This includes, but is not limited to; all school records, diplomas, report cards, awards, yearbooks, mail, etc. No nicknames or preferred names will be used unless it appears that way on their birth certificate or a certified legal name change document.”

Dorris told board members: “This has not been a major problem but we need to have it in our policy,” adding it’s been an unwritten rule in the past.

Finance director Doug Brown said operating funds for the district have increased in revenue by $1.2 million, but expenses have increased as well by $400,000, leaving the district at $800,000 “to the good.” Brown told board members the district is financially on track seven months into the fiscal year.

Athletic director and head football coach Bobby Bolding announced freshman offensive and defensive lineman Landen Meredith was named MaxPreps Freshman All-American. Bolding said the 6-foot-3, 280-pound Meredith is the first freshman he ever moved up to varsity.

A season pass for baseball, softball and soccer home events is $30, which Bolding said is a discount from paying for entry to each home event.

Debbie Jones, director of federal programs and curriculum, told board members of a quiz contest on Black heroes for Black History Month.

A slide show on the heroes was shown at the high school cafeteria, and those who were the first to return to the high school office with the correct answers to questions won the contest.

A fashion and design class also designed freedom quilts, which included patterns slaves used for their routes to freedom during the Underground Railroad.

Leah Randle, Caleb Menard and Makirah Brown made the All-State choir. Christian Stephens was selected second chair in All-State wind symphony and jazz band.

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