County talks full-time in-person learning for K-5, approves bonus for school employees

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NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — At its regular meeting Monday, the New Hanover County Commission discussed a desire to open elementary schools full-time, and approved a bonus for teachers and other employees.

The board approved $2.45 million in funding for New Hanover County Schools, which will provide every school employee with a $750 bonus before Christmas.

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“Our goal was to make sure that the staff and the teachers and everybody know how much we appreciated what they’ve done actually going to school, taking their own kids to school, and making all these adjustments,” said Commission Chair Julia Olson-Boseman.

Board of Education Chair Stefanie Adams expressed her gratitude after the unanimous vote.

“Thank you,” Adams said. “This bonus for all of our employees is an acknowledgement of the hard work, the dedication, the passion that they all bring to the classroom and into their schools.”

Newly elected Commissioner Bill Rivenbark previously held a seat on the Board of Education. He says it was important to him that all employees were included.

“Everybody always talks about the teachers, the teachers need more money, but so do the maintenance workers, cafeteria workers, the bus drivers,” Rivenbark said. “Those people are as important to make things work every day, so we made sure that we gave everybody the bonus.”

Olson-Boseman says Rivenbark’s experience and insight played a part in this decision.

“Having Commissioner Rivenbark as a new commissioner and former school board member is bringing a lot of knowledge to the board that we didn’t have before,” Olson-Boseman said. “So I think you’re going to expect to see in the upcoming years a lot of cooperation with the school board and the commission unlike you’ve ever seen in the past.”

Commissioners also making a request, asking the Board of Education to discuss and plan to send pre-K and elementary students back to school full-time at the start of the second semester January 11.

“I have a child in 5th grade and I have seen personally the toll that it’s taking on him,” Olson-Boseman said. “Mine’s not the only child, so we need to get the kids back because we’re doing more damage to them.”

The decision will ultimately be left up to the Board of Education. That board is set to meet on Tuesday.