RCS approves incentive plan for teachers

Schools have long awarded students for perfect attendance records. In Russellville, teachers will soon have the same opportunity to be rewarded for not missing days.

As part of the salary schedule the Russellville City Schools Board of Education approved at its most recent board meeting, teachers can receive a bonus of $250 for missing only two or three days or $500 for missing one or no days during the school year.

Superintendent Heath Grimes said the new policy is not in any way to penalize teachers for using the days they are given if needed. Rather, the incentive is a means to encourage teachers to be in the classroom whenever possible, with a little reward to thank teachers who make the extra effort to be present every day of the school year.

“Research shows that when teacher absence is high, student absence is higher,” Grimes said. “We need their training and experience in the classroom every day. We know that changes instructional data as much as anything. Student growth increases with consistency in high teacher attendance.”

Teachers receive 11 days per year split among sick days and personal days, with possible additional days given based on length of tenure. In addition to the gains to be had in the classroom with high teacher attendance, Grimes said the system’s finances also benefit: it costs less to pay a teacher incentive than it does to pay a bevy of substitute teachers.

A policy change approved by the board rectified an accidental policy included in the recently implemented manual. Policy 5.10.5(b), Grimes said, erroneously said that RCS teachers were to be paid for experience in RCS only, not their prior experience in other school systems.

The error, Grimes said, came because the policy was based on a standard template provided by an Alabama Association of School Boards law firm tasked with helping boards keep their policy documents up-to-date.

“We inadvertently missed (that policy point),” Grimes said. “That’s not true. That’s not the way we pay. That’s not the way we have every paid or intend to pay.” The revised policy reflects that teachers are paid based on the whole of their experience.

In personnel changes, the board approved Monica Moon as the new assistant principal for West Elementary School. The board also approved the following personnel changes:

  • Temporary employment: Christie Bostick, Presley Cantrell, Liza Scott and Emily Rush as 21st CCLC teachers (part-time and as needed)
  • Employment in position: Melissa Espinoza, EL Aide
  • Resignation in position: Kelby Daniel, assistant principal at WES, effective Aug. 9; and Pedro Francisco, EL aide, effective Aug. 25
  • Athletic consultants: Bryant Bonds to be a pro consult for the RHS football team.
  • Volunteers for the 2017-18 athletic program: Terry Prince, varsity football, and John Alex Foster, RMS football

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