Crowd seems to boost cash for hospitalized sheriff’s deputy – Salisbury Submit

The Rowan County Sheriff’s Office lit 100 or more grills in its parking lot to raise money for employees or charities, but Thursday’s fundraiser for Brian Benfield could top the list of most food sold, Sgt. David Earnhardt said.

Benfield has been hospitalized with COVID-19 for more than a month and is expected to be transferred from the hospital to a long-term care facility. His wife and son also contracted COVID-19 and have since recovered.

To help their colleague, Rowan County Sheriff’s Office staff turned into quick orders Thursday, grilling hot dogs and making sausage sandwiches in the parking lot next to the Rowan County Courthouse. They attracted interested customers and also arranged orders,

“This is probably the biggest we’ve ever made, most of the food we’ve ever sold,” said Earnhardt, Benfield’s manager.

He estimated the fundraiser would cover a large chunk of Benfield’s hospital bills out of pocket, but it wouldn’t nearly fully cover the costs he incurs.

“If one of us is involved in something or needs help, we try to do something for him and to help him as well as possible,” said Earnhardt.

As they watched the line of people buying groceries Thursday, Benfield’s daughter Gracie and father Ned called it “a blessing”.

“Brian made a lot of friends,” said Ned Benfield. “We’re thankful.”

To learn more about Brian Benfield’s hospital stay, click or tap to read the Post’s story released Thursday: “The Rowan Sheriff’s Office is holding a fundraiser for a deputy hospitalized with COVID-19.”

RSS says federal cash will not be long-term answer for workers pay – Salisbury Put up

SALISBURY – Rowan-Salisbury Schools received an unprecedented amount of federal funding over the past year, but funding will only go so far as to keep the district’s staff competitive.

In total, the district raised $ 96.9 million in federal funds. The amount is spread across approximately $ 70.6 million in COVID-19 aid and a federal grant of $ 26.3 million granted in 2020 to advance renewal plans.

The district has some of the least competitive salaries for its employees when compared to comparable school districts. In June, Superintendent Tony Watlington collapsed where the district landed. Teachers, teaching assistants, caretakers and bus drivers are at the bottom of the lists in eight or nine districts.

The employees are roughly divided into certified and classified categories. Certified employees include faculties such as teachers and school principals. The classified employees include bus drivers, nutrition workers, maintenance and teacher assistants.

During the school committee meeting last week, Watlington briefly touched on the subject, noting that the district lags not only behind the more affluent surrounding districts in terms of pay for classified staff, but also behind comparable districts.

A bus driver for RSS starts at $ 12.07 per hour while a starting bus driver for Davidson County starts at $ 16.07 per hour. A salary study for classified employees is ongoing.

RSS chief finance officer Carol Herndon said it is rare for a salary study to return whose results show pay should stay the same. It is likely that the district will need to implement the study in a phased manner rather than implementing its recommendations in a single year, Herndon said.

Chief Operational Officer Anthony Vann said the district is struggling to recruit and hold classified positions under its umbrella. He said there were several reasons. Pay is one. Another is the high level of competition from private companies and other school districts for people with the skills RSS is looking for. The COVID-19 pandemic also contributes to this.

While demand fluctuates, Vann cited the example of around 50 vacancies in a workforce of 200 nutritionists. Central Office nutritionists and other RSS staff work in cafeteria lines in schools, much like staff who stand in as substitute teachers to make up for lengthy teacher absences.

Vann said he has lost several very skilled employees to the surrounding counties and sees companies in the city offering signing rewards.

“It makes it difficult to keep qualified staff unless you can compete with them,” said Vann.

Where the county will find the funding for the raise is still open, but there are a few options.

Why not the federal money?

Some of the federal aid money will go into the pockets of the faculty and staff, but it will not provide the county with a solution to long-term funding goals for the people who work there for two reasons: used to pay staff, and it will run out of money too .

The aid money is divided into three parts based on the primary and secondary school emergency fund. The district received $ 4.7 million from the CARES bill in the early days of the pandemic, which has already been issued. The remaining federal aid came in two installments, a package of $ 20.3 million in the final months of President Trump’s administration and $ 45.6 million under the US bailout plan passed earlier this year.

All three aid packages came with slightly different rules. The last two packages, which make up the bulk of the funding, were not issued. The use of the latter packages must pass a three-step test to either prevent, reduce or respond to COVID-19.

Currently, the district is trying to shift some of its funds to pay grants to employees taking on additional duties due to COVID-19, but the state has consistently declined districts to use the money to largely pay the salaries or bonuses. In the meantime, the $ 20.3 million must be spent by the end of September 2023 and the $ 45.6 million the following year.

Herndon said it was dangerous to try to fund permanent bonuses with volatile cash because the district could not sustain increases after the grants expired.

“Our goal is to find sustainable funding,” said Herndon, adding that the district is in the process of setting a price for the implementation of the wage study.

The district will spend more than $ 30 million in aid on repairing and upgrading HVAC systems in its schools. This will achieve a long-term capital goal by removing this funding from the capital requirement list of more than $ 200 million in the district’s facilities.

These expenses are acceptable as they improve the air quality in the buildings. When all work is complete, every school in the district will have HVAC systems with fresh air exchangers.

The $ 26.3 million grant is different. Its express purpose is to give teachers incentives to advance the work of the district on its special renewal status.

Earlier this year, the district announced its first grant incentive program, which will provide $ 585,000 in signing and retention bonuses at 13 schools. The district management has discussed creating an incentive payment with the subsidy at their schools in need, in order to also attract teachers.

Where does the district find money?

North Carolina is one of the few states that has left the funding of its public schools to the total grace of the state and local governments.

School systems in NC have no authority to collect taxes or generate income of their own accord, except through grants and private donations. The overwhelming majority of the district’s $ 207.6 million budget for this fiscal year comes from a combination of federal, state and local funds awarded directly by these institutions.

Most of the money comes from the state. One possibility is for the state to pass one of the proposed budgets currently circulating in the legislature. The budget could include either a $ 13 or $ 15 minimum wage for civil servants, with the state government assuming the state-funded portion of the increase. But a budget passed by the legislature that could come at the end of this month would also apply nationwide.

The second place to find funding is through the Rowan County Board of Commissioners. That year, the commissioners cut nearly $ 500,000 from current expenses for the district, while the local portion of salary and welfare expenses increased by $ 416,000. Local funding is $ 38.8 million.

“One of the things our county needs to sell to businesses and potential citizens is quality schools,” Herndon said, adding that it requires quality staff and competitive wages.

Herndon said RSS should meet with the commissioners in person to have a conversation so that district officials can understand the district’s needs. Letters sent to district officials each year may lack the emotion and passion behind the district’s work.

The district has introduced itself to commissioners in the past, but the COVID-19 pandemic has made this meeting difficult.

The county also provides almost all of the capital funding for the county. Small purchases of equipment such as furniture could be made, but local money is used to build schools.

The final way to find money is to exercise some financial discretion. Renewal gives the district more government funding flexibility than the average district, making it easier to keep track of the district’s spending.

Herndon cited as an example of buying curriculum materials and analyzing whether that product gives the district what it wants. If not, RSS could test competing products or free up that money for other initiatives.

“If we are serious about offering competitive wages to our employees, we need to look very carefully at what we are currently funding,” said Herndon.

Trainer accused of assaulting at-risk teen at New London military-style faculty – Salisbury Publish

ALBEMARLE (AP) – An assistant teacher at a military school for youth at risk has been accused of sexually assaulting a student in her dorm room, the Stanly County Sheriff’s Office said.

Cody Lee Eudy, 28, was arrested on May 30 and charged with second degree violent sex offenses and sexual acts with a student, The Charlotte Observer reported.

Stanly County Sheriff Jeff Crisco said the charges stemmed from an incident at the Tarheel Challenge Academy in New London on May 29. Crisco said this happened on a night when there were no female staff on duty. He said proxies were called to the academy on May 30 and spoke to the victim and then called a detective. The detective spoke to Eudy, who cooperated and was charged, said the sheriff.

The story was first reported by Stanly News & Press.

The Tarheel Challenge Academy is a quasi-military program for youth at risk ages 16 to 18 and is sponsored by the North Carolina National Guard as part of the National Guard Youth Challenge Program, the academy’s website states.

Eudy is in jail on a $ 100,000 bond. Christopher Purkey, who represents Eudy, declined to comment on Friday.

NC Senate OK’s invoice distributing federal COVID reduction cash – Salisbury Publish

By Bryan Anderson
Associated Press / Report for America

RALEIGH – North Carolina state senators on Wednesday unanimously approved a bill to distribute funds that the state secured through the federal government’s December stimulus package.

If the schools were approved by the House of Representatives and then signed by Democratic Governor Roy Cooper, they would receive $ 1.6 billion to reopen classrooms with face-to-face tuition, purchase educational technology, and reduce those exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic Support learning gaps.

Over $ 546 million in federal funding would be used to help North Carolinians in need of emergency rent, while nearly $ 95 million would be given to the State Department of Health to help local health officials spread the Pfizer and Moderna -Coronavirus to support vaccinations.

The state is well on its way to receiving more than 145,000 new initial doses from the federal government in the next three weeks.

The Coronavirus Relief Act, approved by the Senate on Wednesday, also supports direct payments to more parents.

Parents who missed the opportunity to receive checks for $ 335 in the past year to offset distance learning and childcare expenses would have until May 31 to claim the so-called additional loan grants to take. The bill extends the program that expired in the fall and paves the way for thousands of families who are still eligible for direct checks in order to receive them.

Many parents who want to get their children back into physical classrooms currently have no way of doing so. A separate bill, backed by Republican lawmakers, would force districts to provide at least partial in-person tuition to all 1.5 million students in the state, although parents must still be given the opportunity to continue learning their children remotely to let.

Democratic Governor Roy Cooper on Tuesday urged school authorities to deviate from offers for remote controls only, but declined to request. He opposes the Republican bill that has drawn the ire of teacher advocates who are concerned about the safety and lack of prioritization of vaccines. While members of the House of Representatives ponder the Coronavirus Relief Act Thursday, the Senators will vote on the proposal to reopen the school.