ROCKINGHAM — The Richmond County Board of Commissioners made education a priority when it finalized its budget this summer — increasing the local supplement to teacher salaries for the first time in seven years.
Richmond County Schools Superintendent Dr. Cindy Goodman mentioned the bonus during the school district’s 2016 Convocation at the Cole Auditorium on Thursday.
“We also enjoy a very positive relationship with the county commissioners,” Goodman said. “Two years ago, our commissioners supplied funding for library and technology upgrades. This past year, the commissioners approved a funding increase to supply us with a 10 percent teacher supplement increase.”
The statement drew cheers and applause from the educators packed into the auditorium.
County Manager Rick Sago said the increase was long overdue.
“It had been several years since we raised it,” Sago said. “I’m glad they enjoy it. They deserve it — and more than that — eventually. We appreciate everything the school system and the teachers do.”
Sago said the county commissioners are very supportive of education, and the supplement increase was a topic they felt strongly about.
“They haven’t had a raise in supplements since 2009,” he said. “It’s been discussed over the past several months, and it really never did come up until this year. But I talked with the chairman, Kenneth Robinette, he really wanted to do this. And the commissioners are definitely pro-education, since they voted for it.”
Ashley-Michelle Thublin, public information officer for Richmond County Schools, said the 2009 increase was five percent. The impact of this year’s 10 percent increase on individual educators, she said, depends on how long a teacher has been employed — but the lower end of the range rose significantly.
“In terms of dollars, this increase broke down to about $70,000,” Thublin said. “It’s on a scale based on years of service. For the 2015-2016 school year it was $945 to $1,040 per teacher. For the 2016-2017 school year (the range) will be $1409 to $1550.”
Reach reporter Melonie McLaurin at 910-817-2673 and follow her on Twitter @meloniemclaurin.