By Staff Reports
The Henry County School Board unanimously voted to waive the 30-day notice requirement for votes related to the superintendent’s contract and extend Superintendent Sandy Strayer’s contract through June 30, 2025.
Strayer began her work as Henry County Public Schools’ superintendent in November 2018. Her current contract was set to expire in June 2022.
The new contract will contain the same terms as Strayer’s current contract, which stipulates a salary of $156,791 with an annual increase of one percent, or the average instructional increase, for the duration of the contract. The extension followed a comprehensive evaluation process completed by school board members.
“Mrs. Strayer has done a fantastic job of keeping our schools flowing through the pandemic. Though it was difficult, virtual learning was a good experience for our teachers, staff and administrators because it opened new avenues for everyone,” said Thomas Auker, board chairman. “I am excited to continue working with Mrs. Strayer because she cares so much about the students, teachers and administrators of Henry County.”
“I am honored to have the Board’s confidence and partnership in supporting students and staff as we continue to ensure student growth and success in the years to come,” Strayer said.
Before she was hired as superintendent, Strayer served as a teacher, administrator, and assistant superintendent in Henry County.
In other matters at the June 3 meeting, the board:
*Heard comments about a potential bonus from Jerry Wyatt, of Collinsville.
“I think that any school board member who took any money as a bonus for doing the job you all agreed to when you all were elected. Every one of you said, I’m sure, when you campaigned said, ‘I’ll represent you, if you need anything you call me,’” he said.
When he was younger, Wyatt said he once added a quarter to the amount of agreed pay for mowing a yard.
“I went home and told my dad what I did. I learned quickly and painfully, keep your word. I walked back up that street and gave that woman her quarter back and I learned then when I said I would do something for certain conditions and pay/compensation, I kept my word.
“I believe that when you accepted this job under the conditions that were wrote out and you ran, that’s the conditions you should be” following, he said.
After the meeting, Communications Director Monica Hatchett said the bonus was offered to all full-time staff and school employees.
“The school division did not give raises like they traditionally would because they were concerned about pandemic spending and the way everything was going to work in the pandemic. So, out of an abundance of caution they elected not to assign raises to people,” she said.
But Hatchett said the school division had savings because it did not have to employ substitute teachers as often, fund travel or other normal expenses.
“Because of that, and because staff members did not receive raises, the board felt that it was appropriate to offer all of our full-time staff members a bonus,” Hatchett said, and added that the bonus took the place of a raise.
“The only negative to a bonus versus a raise is that raise would have counted towards their Virginia Retirement System (VRS) information and the bonus does not go into the VRS. It’s just a one-time stipend,” she said.
Because the board members also are full-time employees, Hatchett said they also are eligible to receive the bonus.
“Certainly, the intent was people like our cafeteria staff members, our bus drivers, who are working in-person, even when other people are home, our teachers, who obviously had to go above and beyond what they would typically do,” Hatchett said.
She does not know of any of the board members are accepting the bonus.
“That’s their personal decision,” she said, and added they may opt to return it, “or they can also donate it.”
*Approved the 2021-2022 Title I Part A Improving Basic Program grant.
*Approved the purchase of Dell Incorporated devices, servers, and accessories.
*Approved policy updates as presented.
*Awarded the bid of the third-party administrator of the 403b plan to TSA Consulting Group.
*Awarded the contract for security and surveillance services to EMI Security, LLC from Stuart and Security Service, Inc. from Glade Hill.
*Awarded the contract for construction of a new greenhouse at Bassett High School to Daniel Builders, LLC.
*Awarded the contract to provide frozen desserts to the school cafeterias to Hershey’s Ice Cream.
*Awarded the contract to provide dairy products to the school cafeterias to Vernon Family Dairy, LLC.
*Discussed the use of Meadow View Elementary School’s athletic fields.