At a meeting Tuesday night, the Harrisonburg City School Board approved $2,000 bonuses for full-time employees and $1,000 bonuses for part-time employees.
According to Tracy Shaver, chief financial officer for the school division, the COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on the work employees have performed this school year. Staff have transitioned to both virtual and in-person learning, enhanced daily cleaning routines, deployed technology devices to all students as well as into the community, and delivered student meals in new and unique ways.
Although staff salary increases were reduced from 3% to 1.5% this fiscal year as a result of the pandemic, HCPS employees have continued to rise to the challenge of going above and beyond in every way, Shaver said.
For these reason, Shaver recommended the bonus payments, which will be processed in June’s payroll. The bonuses are being funded with anticipated surplus funds from the current fiscal year and will not require additional tax dollars from the city.
In addition, Superintendent Michael Richards announced that an outside firm will be looking at employee salary scales.
Richards said: “It occurred to me soon after I arrived two years ago that there was some arbitrariness in our salary scales and that the scales were not very savvy in terms of encouraging key staff members, mainly teachers, to stay and grow in their careers with us.”
Richards said he intended to hire an outside agency to review all salary scales to ensure they are comparable internally, meaning one group isn’t arbitrarily making less than another similar group, and externally, salaries are competitive with similar jobs outside HCPS.
This work is best done by an outside group for the sake of objectivity, he said.
“I’ll also review the teacher scale in particular to ensure we are encouraging great teachers to stay with us as they progress in their careers instead of potentially looking for higher compensation elsewhere,” Richards said.