Some time around December, employees of Sheridan County School District 1 will receive a Christmas bonus along with their regular paychecks.
District trustees approved the funds along with an increase in starting teachers' salaries and other benefits following discussion in a closed session earlier this week. The salary for starting teachers will be $41,000 next year.
District 1 Superintendent Marty Kobza (KOBE-zuh) said the bonus money was allocated by the Wyoming Legislature earlier this year. The district – which administers schools in Big Horn and Dayton-Ranchester – anticipates receiving $65,000. If that is, in fact, the amount the district receives, that will mean approximately $350 per employee. However, the superintendent said, the exact amount of funds remains unknown at this time. He expects to get a firm figure from the state in October.
Also as part of the package approved by trustees, the district will pay 100 percent of employees' retirement benefits, and 100 percent of workers' compensation. The decision came after trustees were told that the state of Wyoming raised the employees' share of payment into those funds this year. The superintendent said 40 of the district's employees qualify for worker's compensation.
Trustees also beefed up wellness incentives for employees and approved a change in the policy for salary increases. The district will continue providing raises without prior board approval for teachers who further their education to improve teaching skills. But teachers will not automatically receive pay increases for so-called “vertical movement” - pay increases based just on how long the teacher has been with the district. Those pay increases will require approval from the board of trustees.