WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — The Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools district is working to fix a $16-million mistake.
The Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Board of Education met Tuesday night after it recently discovered a budget error for employee pay raises. School leaders approved a revised salary schedule. Under the newly approved salary schedule, the certified employee annual supplement increase will be $1,800 per year, the largest increase in the last three years. School leaders said the increase is effective immediately and is retroactive to the beginning of the school year.
The board also heard an update on approved and proposed bonuses for all staff members. It includes an ESSR funded Recognition and Retention Bonus of $1,500 for all staff in February with another in April. The school district said it has already approved a funded spring bonus of $700 for certified staff and $500 for all other staff for May. The district said, in total employees will receive bonuses of $5,000 or more this school year.
Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools Superintendent Tricia McManus also spoke about the previous budget error.
“This calculation error was significant and brought to light important process changes needed within our Human Resources Compensation Team. We never want to provide false information, which is exactly what happened in this situation. I am thankful to say that we are able to increase the supplement to $1,800. My goal was to close the gap as much as possible between what was approved and the original supplement budget. I am very aware that educators are underpaid, and I am committed to finding additional funds that we can allocate toward employee salaries,” said WS/FCS Superintendent Tricia McManus.
McManus recently sent out a letter in regards to the budget error. The letter said the salary increase approved last month was $16 million over budget. It meant all certified employees, including teachers and counselors, would not get the amount "originally" promised in December.
The district said it now has a new compensation practice that it has put into place since the calculation error. The district said all new compensation estimations must now have two staff members from Human Resources and two staff members from finance review them for accuracy. They’re also providing additional training on how to review for accuracy and any estimates will now be calculated using multiple methods.