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10/30/19 Schools begin rain damage repairs; teacher raises coming in November

Schools begin rain damage repairs; teacher raises coming in November
By Isaac Groves, The Times-News 10/30/19    
Reprinted with permission.

One way or another, pay raises for teachers in the Alamance-Burlington School System should come through next month.

“We will do it in one big chunk, and that will most likely happen in the November paycheck,” said Jeremy Teetor, ABSS finance director.

Public school districts in North Carolina get most of their funding directly from the state. That means the budget impasse in Raleigh has kept ABSS from finalizing its own budget and from giving teachers and administrators the raises the state legislature already agreed on.

Regular raises based on years with the school system have also been held up.

“Each year teachers count on moving up to their next level of experience on the pay schedule,” Teetor said, “and we’ve not been allowed to move them up, so they’re really hanging out there in limbo right now.”

The pay increases would give the average teacher 3.9 percent more over two years, but it’s weighted to teachers with 16 or more years of experience.

Raises could come through in two ways — either the state Senate overrides Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of the budget, or the legislature passes a “mini budget,” a small spending bill for one of the budget’s less controversial items, like teacher pay.

So far there have not been enough votes in the Senate for an override, Teetor said, but he understands there should be a solution by the end of October.

“I’m looking forward to the treat,” he told the Alamance-Burlington Board of Education at its meeting Monday, Oct. 28.

The county also supplements teacher pay, but that increase was included in ABSS’ budget request, so, Teetor said, ABSS won’t be going back to the commissioners for more money.

Cummings,
Broadview repairs

Work started tearing out areas of the chorus room at Cummings High School last week and should be done by Friday, said Assistant Superintendent Todd Thorpe, Monday.

Leaky roofs did serious damage to the chorus room, band room, auditorium and other arts areas. The renovations are pretty extensive and include removing asbestos, though serious mold problems were mostly in one area.

“We have reports for the chorus room, which I’ll be honest with you is bad, that’s the reason for what we’re planning in there,” Thorpe said.

The auditorium and band room both came in within normal limits, Thorpe said, meaning comparable to outside.

“Your inside mold should look like your outside mold,” Thorpe said.

Once the remediation is finished at the end of the week, the rest of the building will be safe again while work is going on. It will take three or four months to finish construction, Thorpe said.

It all comes back to a bad roofing material.

In 2005, J.P. Stevens Roofing, which was bought by Dow in 2008, installed six roofs for ABSS — at Sellars-Gunn Educational Center, E.M. Holt Elementary School, Graham and Broadview middle schools, and two at Cummings High School — under a 15-year warranty.

In 2016, major leaks began appearing, and by the summer of 2017 four out of the six needed to be fully replaced due to an issue with the materials used (45-mil TPO membrane) and sun exposure.

Roofs at Cummings High School and Broadview Middle School were repaired with money from three different sources, the school system’s $890,000 settlement with Dow Chemical, lottery funding and the county’s School Capital Reserve Fund, which is a portion of sales tax revenue.