School district staff could get $300 bonus | NevadaAppeal.com

School district staff could get $300 bonus

by Maggie O'Neill

Carson City School Board trustees will decide tonight whether $300,000 of $1.5 million in undesignated money in the district’s general fund should be divided up as a one-time bonus among full-time employees.

That’s $300 extra per employee for essentially the entire staff of the Carson City School District: Administrators, teachers, bus drivers, nurses and others.

“I think it’s a good idea,” said trustee Norm Scoggins. “We ask a lot of employees. If we can return something to them, then we need to. I wish it could be more, but that’s what we can afford now.”

Superintendent Mary Pierczynski said the $300 bonus is a way to recognize staff for their agreement to defer a 2 percent raise in the 2003-04 school year when the district was unsure of its financial position.

“They agreed not to take any money last year,” she said.

Employees will see a raise go into effect by midpoint of this year, and a second 2 percent raise will become effective by the end of the 2004-05 school year.

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The $1.5 million in undesignated money in the general fund came after a year’s worth of cost-savings measures in 2003-04, including utilities, employee retirement buyouts, personnel vacancies from retirements or resignations and training expenses.

“We knew that we needed to look at cost-savings measures in the district, and this is a result of our trying to be more efficient and asking more of our employees,” Pierczynski said. “We’re asking more of everybody. And we have people who have been good and have cooperated.”

The cost-saving came about because the district expects a drop in per-pupil funding beginning July 2005. District staff are recommending that $500,000 of the $1.5 million be used for fund the difference by the drop.

The district received per-pupil funding during the 2003-04 and 2004-05 school years based on the number of pupils during the 2002-03 school year. In 2005-06, that payment will be re-adjusted for 90 fewer students.

“We have tried very hard ever since last year and into this year to take advantage of our hold-harmless situation,” Pierczynski said.

District staff are also recommending that of the $1.5 million in the general fund, $160,000 be used to purchase two additional school buses, and $613,353 be used to fund the teachers’ retirement credit program as mandated by the state.

“I’m surprised at the $1.5 million amount,” Scoggins said. “The only problem is it’s a surplus of funds, but it really isn’t. By law, we have to pay these bills. What this means is we have enough money to pay the bills without going into debt.”

School board members can vote for all of the four recommendations by the district staff for the $1.5 million in undesignated money or vote for the ones they like.

Contact reporter Maggie O’Neill at mo’neill@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1219.

IF YOU GO

What: School board meeting

When: 7 tonight

Where: Sierra Room of the community center, 851 E. William St.