Dare school board hears report on employee recruitment, retention

Published 11:58 am Thursday, December 14, 2023

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A wide-ranging report on recruiting and retaining staff for Dare County Schools came to the Board of Education at its Nov. 20, 2023 meeting.

Oliver A. Holley, director of the system’s human resources program, presented the school board’s Recruitment and Retention Committee’s update.

The effort was led by board member Carl Woody. Board members Mary Ellon Ballance and Susan Bothwell also participated in the committee work.

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Additional members are Erren Gibbs, Emily Santora, Rachel Benton, John Luciano, Diana Childress, Jeanne Mouser, Catherine Bowser and Hannah Nash.

The committee actually polled classified and certified school system employees three times, asking the same questions different ways. Some 499 responses were received and tabulated.

Well over half of the respondents were over 40 years of age, 66.8%.

Classified employees represented 28.7% of respondents; certified 68.1%.

The survey covered possible moves by the system, such as tuition reimbursement, professional development stipend, a district-sponsored health savings account, district-paid dental coverage, district-paid vision insurance, child care, classroom instruction supply stipend, district-paid health care incentive payment of $25 per employee, employee savings account with district contribution and interest-free relocation or hardship loan.

The committee concentrated on three areas:

– A local longevity and supplement plan for classified and certified employees;

– Improve communications on current state and local benefits; and

– District-paid dental coverage, which was supported as important or very important by 92.8% of respondents.

Holley explained in detail what the district pays for various benefits. Based on a first-year teacher base salary of $39,000 for example:

Retirement: the teacher pays 6%, the district pays $9,828.

Healthcare: the district pays $5,849.60 per employee annually.

FICA for Medicare and Social Security: $2,983.50.

The school board’s budget for that first year teacher is $18,661.10 plus salary.

For a teacher with 25 years in the system, the benefit total per year is $23,929.95.

Holley said the committee has a lot of work to do.

Woody said that Dare County ranked 30th in teacher supplements in the state and fourth in cost of living. He would like to see that gap closed.

“At the end of the day,” said Holley, “it costs money.”