Sumner Schools employees to receive 1% bonuses

All full-time Sumner County Schools employees will receive a one-percent bonus on April 15.

All full-time Sumner County Schools employees will receive a one-time, one percent bonus in April after the Sumner County Board of Education voted unanimously Feb. 23 to approve the expenditure.

The vote came after Director of Schools Dr. Del Phillips told school board members the district will receive about $1.2 million in state funding that can be used for pay bonuses for most certified school district employees.

A bill passed by the Tennessee General Assembly during a special session in January allocated $42 million in non-recurring funds to school districts across the state to increase teacher pay using a formula drawn out by the state’s Basic Education Program (BEP).

Because the extra funding didn’t include all certified staff, or classified employees (like custodians or bus drivers), Phillips proposed moving $641,099 from the school district’s undesignated fund balance in order to give all full-time employees a bonus.

“This way it would be applying to all employees, not just that small part the state specified,” said Phillips.

Several school board members said the one-time bonus was well deserved.

“Our school system employees deserve three times that much,” said Ted Wise who represents District 8.

“I think we would be crazy to honor one segment and not the other,” said District 11 Board Member David Wilkerson.

Phillips noted the move would be a one-time expenditure from the school district’s current fiscal year funds and wouldn’t impact the 2021-22 fiscal year. Employees can expect to see the increase – one percent of their annual base pay — on their April 15 pay checks, he added.

“I think we’ve shown through many, many, many board actions the past eight budgets that paying our employees for the great job they do is important to us,” Phillips said.

Each of the school system’s 2,193 certified employees that include teachers, counselors, nurses, principals and assistant principals received a $4,000 annual pay increase in January of 2020 after the Sumner County Commission voted to raise the property tax rate to fund the $8.8 million expenditure. The move raised the starting salary of a teacher in Sumner County to $40,100.