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Washington County school board approves budget adjustments resolving contract issue

March 23, 2012|By JULIE E. GREENE | julieg@herald-mail.com

The Washington County school board this week unanimously approved second-quarter budget adjustments that included more money for deferred maintenance and funds for teachers who participated in a leadership program that ended in January.

Resolving a contract issue, the Washington County Board of Education and Washington County Teachers Association agreed in February to eliminate the Teacher Leadership Responsibilities Program, effective Jan. 20, 2012, according to school system documents.

Participants in the leadership program earned points for taking on different responsibilities, and received a one-time payment once they had eight points, Chief Financial Officer Chris South said Wednesday.

According to an example provided in a document on the school system’s website, a middle-school teacher could have earned 2 points for being a department leader and half a point for serving as a school-improvement team member during the 2009-10 school year.

A $682,471 increase listed in the budget adjustments includes $500,000 for participants in the leadership program who had not accumulated the eight points needed to earn a one-time payment, South said.

The $500,000 will be divided so participants who have from one to seven points will get a payment, but won’t receive a per-point payment higher than what was given to participants who accumulated eight points, he said.

Money saved from the elimination of the leadership program will help cover pay raises the board approved in February.

The $682,471 budget increase also included additional salary budgeted for an expanded summer school.

According to documents, other budget adjustments approved Tuesday included:

  • $530,730 in energy savings due to a mild winter.
  • $557,000 in additional savings from the Summit Program, which transferred some special-education students from private placements to a school-run program that provides a mix of individual or group services, and general classroom experience in a school setting.
  • A $341,000 reduction in revenue from less than expected interest income and insurance dividends, as well as less state aid for special education due to fewer private placements.
  • $675,000 in the budget was shifted to take care of deferred maintenance projects.
  • $151,465 was saved from personnel turnover and the elimination of a secondary math supervisory position after that person, April Bishop, was appointed acting principal at Williamsport High School in December, South said.
Bishop replaced Principal Henry “Hank” Bohlander, who retired for personal reasons.

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