On Sept. 26, the Orange County Schools Board of Education unanimously voted to approve providing a stipend for certified or licensed staff at Orange County Schools for providing instruction during one or more of their planning periods.
The proposal was presented by OCS Chief Finance Officer Rhonda Rath.
With the passage, staff will be paid $40 per day for planning, grading and providing instruction during a planning period as a result of staff shortages.
The funds for the stipends will come from unused salary money from the district's 16 vacancies in core instruction across all schools.
“I also want to thank you for this, and I love the idea of funding with lapse salaries, very creative,” board member Bonnie Hauser said to Rath at the meeting.
When the plan to compensate teachers was first introduced to the board last year, the rate would have been $60 per day, but it has since been reduced, according to Rath. Over the last 16 months, the lapse salaries have accumulated to approximately $80,000.
These vacancies provide the funds necessary to pay stipends but are also the reason staff are being asked to teach during their intended planning periods.
“I’m hearing you loud and clear that we don’t want our teachers giving up their planning time in order to teach,” Hauser said.
The stipend system for staff teaching during their planning periods first began during the COVID-19 pandemic to accommodate the increasing number of absences and quarantines in the district. It was discontinued following the lifting of the state of emergency issued by Gov. Roy Cooper, as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention relaxing their quarantine requirements.