HAMLET — The Richmond County Board of Education voted unanimously Tuesday to raise Superintendent Dr. Cindy Goodman’s annual salary by $5,000 a year. They also voted in favor to extend her contract an additional year, which will take it to 2020.
According to Ashley Michelle Thublin, public information officer for Richmond County Schools, Goodman’s base salary before the raise kicks in is $126,209.16 with a supplement of $24,458.28. She also has 10 reimbursement days and 10 compensatory days at $5,326.10 each that are written into her contract, Thublin added.
Altogether her total salary is $161,319.64, which with the $5,000 raise will see her annual income jump to $166,319.64 beginning in July.
The superintendent wasn’t the only one receiving a raise, however, as Richmond County Schools Child Nutrition Director Theresa Strong was on hand to ask for an increase in the pay scale for child nutrition employees.
After a study was completed on the five counties surrounding Richmond — Anson, Scotland, Hoke, Montgomery and Moore — it was found that Richmond County found itself on the lower end of the pay scale.
“Child nutrition has changed over the last five to 10 years and now requires a higher skill level than they previously had to meet,” said Strong. “All child nutrition staff must have a high school diploma and be able to read fluently.”
The study showed that the starting pay for a regular cafeteria worker in Anson is $11.85 an hour, $10.85 in Scotland, $11.85 in Hoke, $12.85 in Montgomery and $11.86 an hour in Moore County. Richmond’s starting pay sits at the federal minimum wage of $7.25.
As far managers, Anson topped the list at $15.10 per hour, Scotland, Hoke, Montgomery and Moore at $14.82 and Richmond coming in last at $12.62. Child nutrition assistant managers and bookkeepers in Richmond County are also the lowest paid in the region.
Strong said that supervisor pay does fall in line with surrounding counties, however.
Her recommendation to the school board, which was voted for unanimously, was to increase all child nutrition employees by $1 per hour and manager and assistant managers by 75 cents per hour, putting the starting rate at $8.25.
“Our employees are hard working and dedicated individuals that provide a great service to our county and are deserving of this raise,” said Strong. “I would also recommend a dollar an hour increase for our bookkeeper bringing her in line with the surrounding counties.”
The Richmond County Child Nutrition Department has for the last four years shown a profit at the end of the year of approximately $185,000 while paying the general fund close to $145,000 in indirect costs per year, Strong added. This raise would cost the program around $128,000 which she felt was feasible.
“This would boost the morale of our employees that work very hard to serve the students and the staff of our county,” she said.
Board member Ronald Tillman asked the board if money was available to pay this raise over the next few years before voting in favor.
“That’s why we went back historically over the last four years,” said Goodman. “We have shown enough profit to sustain this raise. We would like to raise it more, but we had to be sure that we could sustain the raise.”
Reach reporter Matt Harrelson at 910-817-2674 and follow him on Twitter @mattyharrelson.