Wages for teachers in the Aiken County Public School District's summer programs will increase after a unanimous vote from the school board Tuesday night.
The hourly pay will rise from $30 per hour to $37 per hour, a change that school district officials say will help attract more experienced teachers to work this summer. Site leads will make $40 per hour this summer.
"The primary reason for requesting this change is that we are having difficulty recruiting teachers to participate," superintendent King Laurence said before the vote.
Additionally, the district needs to hire more summer teachers than usual – at the elementary level alone, 153 teachers are needed compared to 90 last year, said Chief Officer of Instruction Jeanie Glover.
Teachers will work full 7.5 hour days, so the wage increase is about $52.50 more per day.
The school district will pay for the increased wages using part of the $28.2 million allocated from the federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund. The district has until Sept. 30, 2023, to spend the money.
Glover said elementary-level summer programs primarily focus on math and English language arts, while middle and high school summer programs focus on content and credit recovery.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the board voted in January to allow middle school students to take up to three subjects this summer, giving them the opportunity to pass on to the next grade even if they are failing all four core subjects.
Board members Barry Moulton and Jason Crane were absent from the meeting.
The school district's 2021-2022 calendar received board approval. The first day of school is slated for Aug. 16, and the school year will last until June 2, 2022.
The board approved changes to an ethics policy regarding conflicts of interest among school board members. The policy, labeled BCB under the policy manual, outlines what a board member can and cannot do in relation to district employment, district salary decisions and other financial considerations.
One change to the policy expansion on who counts as "family" for a board member, adding brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law to the list. It also now prohibits board members from being an employee of the school district in any capacity, whereas the policy previously stated board members could not be a paid teacher in the district.
The revised policy says board members can't "participate in the hiring of, or cause the employment of, a family member," nor can they vote on employing, transferring, promoting or adjusting the salary of a family member, unless it's a decision that affects all employees. In the past, this policy simply said such a vote would be considered as a "separate agenda item."
Finally, the revised policy now prevents board members from voting on decisions that affect the economic interests of their family – not just immediate family – and any businesses they're associated with.
While the school board did not have any discussion during Tuesday's vote, members did receive legal advice concerning the ethics policy during executive session.
To view a livestream of the meeting, visit acpsd.net.