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Hickey: I'm bored of board menbers

Bonus? A bonus is given for exceptional service or a job well done, usually at the end of a year or season or sales campaign.

I think you might be referring to what's correctly called the local supplement. The purpose of the local supplement is to entice individual teachers to stay. It is dedicated to teacher retention; it is not part of a general fund or other category.

It is an effort to cut losses where teachers decide to go to another district that pays better. Because pay is determined by the state, it's up to local districts to use a supplement to increase retention and keep teachers.

Because some schools/school districts are turning over at a 20+ % rate, the supplement is one stopgap.

The governor has already eliminated step increases. These aren’t what are usually called raises. The steps are what a teacher gets for each year of experience or for each year he or she stays; that’s retention. Teachers in NC are entering a third year w/o steps.

Then there was a furlough for which many teachers still have not been compensated, and comp time was dismissed as well. Teachers would get comp time for working sports gates or filling in for a teacher’s class here and there. It couldn’t be used to leave instructional time, but still, it had its reward.

What used to be 10+ teacher workdays was eventually and thankfully cut to about 5 a couple of years ago; five is plenty; ten, far too many. Now, it’s zero. Zero workdays. Even when teachers had workdays they were scheduled wrong. Other states schedule workdays on the last day of the marking period to give teachers an opportunity to calculate grades. Generally, it would be a 1/2 day instruction for students and teachers would use the second 1/2 to complete grades. Very convenient when it's done right and for its intended purpose. Yet, it no longer matters; there are no workdays.

The state found a way to get five more instructional days, and that's a good thing, without having to compensate teachers; that's a bad thing. You see, they still have to get grades done, and it still takes about a 1/2 school day times 6 marking periods equals three days plus no opening day to set up classes,nor a closing day to clean your class. That's five days right? Very wrong. Very wrong, indeed.

Cheers to New Hanover Schools for increasing the supplement to retain teachers. You can find each district's local supplement for different categories of employees at the DPI website.

But do call it what it is—the local supplement. It is not a bonus.

And now, let's talk about journalism: first, Ramon Herrara wrote "Hickey was one of two board members who disapproved of reinstating a $23 a month teacher bonus." Mr. Herrara, simple copyediting would reveal that most readers would want to know the name of the other board member. Not good journalism. Then Mr. Herrara mentioned "spirited debate" without going into any details: simple details like who, what, when, where, how, and why. It's written journalism; it's not the quick one sentence story that TV demands so the anchors can engage in cringe-inducing happy talk. When you put your news on the internet, Mr. Herrara, you have plenty of time and space. Why not use it to your advantage?


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