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Lynchburg school board OKs employee bonuses

Lynchburg school board OKs employee bonuses

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LCS School Board Meeting

The Lynchburg City Schools Administration Building located at 915 Court Street on Tuesday, July 7, 2020.

All Lynchburg City Schools employees will receive bonuses for their continued work during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Lynchburg City School Board unanimously voted at its Tuesday meeting in favor of using a portion of the division’s $4.1 million fund balance from the 2019-20 school year to give $1,000 bonuses to full-time employees. Bonuses will be prorated for part-time employees based on the hours they work.

Superintendent Crystal Edwards said the division wanted to support the staff, teachers and administrators who continued to work amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“We know that they’ve been working tremendously hard,” she said.

When schools closed in March, Edwards said, the school division anticipated potential budget cuts and froze spending and staff pay increases. At that time, the division opted to save as much of its 2019-20 money as possible to offset potential funding losses. Edwards said the division was not affected financially as much as leaders feared in the spring.

In June, facing budget cuts from the city and bracing for losses from the state, the board delayed the 2% salary increases for staff that originally had been part of its 2020-21 budget. The approved 2019-20 budget included an average salary increase of 5% for all employees.

Kim Lukanich, chief financial officer for the division, said the 2019-20 fund balance totals $4.1 million. Of that, $675,000 is restricted and must be placed in the division’s textbook reserve, she said.

Of the remaining $3.4 million, administrators proposed using approximately $1.5 million for bonuses.

“We wanted to do something to show appreciation to everybody that has stepped up during this pandemic,” Lukanich said Tuesday.

While transportation and nutrition staff are included in this round of bonuses, LCS board member Atul Gupta pointed out some of those employees, who have been delivering meals to students since schools closed at the beginning of the pandemic in March, are part-time employees and will not receive the full $1,000.

“These people were in the forefront of [the] coronavirus epidemic. When all of us were in our homes, they were delivering meals to our kids,” Gupta said.

The remaining fund balance will be allocated to other needs in the division, including capital improvement projects, buses, Wi-Fi equipment, fire alarm system upgrades and additional vehicles.

The next school board work session is scheduled for 5 p.m. Oct. 20. The next school board meeting is scheduled for 5 p.m. Nov. 4.

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