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The Volusia County School Board has approved measures to get employees more money.

First, educators teaching hybrid classes — with brick-and-mortar students as well as students on the Volusia Live platform — will receive quarterly $500 stipends in quarters three and four of the 2020-21 school year. 

This is an extension of $500 quarterly stipends approved earlier for the first two quarters of the school year. 

Volusia Live, a digital-learning platform that allows students to stream lessons from home, was originally slated to shut down Jan. 22, but was extended due to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic. Fewer teachers are teaching both in-person and online students together now than at the beginning of the school year. Many students have left the Live platform and returned to classrooms. 

Volusia County Schools Human Resources Director Rachel Hazel told The Beacon for the first quarter, 1,971 instructors received the hybrid stipend. Included were classroom teachers, as well as speech clinicians and other small-group instructors. 

For the second quarter of the school year, beginning in November 2020, and ending in January 2021, the number of hybrid instructors was down to 1,454. 

While there is no definitive number for the third quarter yet, Hazel said there has been another decrease in the number of hybrid instructors.

As far as providing the stipend, School Board members expressed satisfaction with the move.

“I think it’s a wonderful thing that we’re doing this,” Board Member Carl Persis said at the Feb. 23 School Board meeting. “There aren’t many districts doing what we’re doing.”

The next step for the stipends is for the School District to work out exactly how long a teacher had to be involved in the hybrid teaching model to qualify for a stipend. Hazel said she would soon be meeting with President Elizabeth Albert of Volusia United Educators, one of the county teachers unions, to hash out the details.

The School Board also approved two salary increases for non-bargainingtechnical, district and administrative staff. 

For technical-support personnel, the raises are an additional 0.5-percent increase to complement a 2.5-percent raise approved in December 2020. Raises apply to employees considered levels one through eight. For salary purposes, levels are directly tied to employees positions: Levels one through eight are employees in supervised positions, while levels nine through 17 are employees in supervising roles.

Employees who are in school-based administrative levels nine through 17, salaries will increase by 2.5-percent, in line with what teachers and other staff members have received. 

For district employees, the average salary increase will be 2.5 percent.

Administrative staff includes principals and assistant principals. Technical staff includes positions, such as school nurses and interpreters for deaf students, while district staff includes positions like curriculum specialist. 

The new raises will be retroactive to July 1, 2020.

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