CHARLES TOWN – After a three-hour discussion, the Jefferson County school board last week approved 10 “immediate” steps to help retain and recruit teachers and school service employees. 

The approved steps are estimated to cost $3 million. They involve these actions:

• $2 million (one-time expense)—Increase full-time substitute teaching and service positions, providing current temporary workers with an opportunity to transition into permanent positions with benefits.

• $355,000 (ongoing expense)—Give $500 annual good attendance bonuses to service workers, similar bonuses given to teachers.

• $260,000 (ongoing)—create salary advancement pay scale for service workers.

• $195,000 (ongoing)—Extra pay for long-term substitute teachers.

• $60,000 (ongoing)—Provide reimbursements up to $100 for expenses for student materials for service workers. Similar to what teachers receive.

• $60,000 (one-time)—Offer $500 referral bonuses to employees who help successfully recruit new employees.   

• $50,000 (ongoing)—Pay costs for background checks and certifications for all staff, including substitute teachers.

• $47,000 (ongoing)—

Reimburse certification costs for coaches.

• $46,000 (ongoing)—Teacher mentor pay.

• $24,000 (ongoing)—Provide flexible, online career learning opportunities.

The school officials plan to schedule future discussions in December on various other short-term and long-term recommendations to improve benefits and working conditions for school employees.

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