Roane County school system explores employee attendance bonus

Roane County Schools employees may soon get an incentive for not missing work. (WCHS/WVAH)

Roane County Schools' employees may soon get an incentive for not missing work.

Superintendent Richard Duncan proposed a new policy to the board of education that would award employees with a bonus for not being absent.

Teachers at Spencer Elementary School are preparing for the new school year.

One of the things on their minds – attendance.

"I think it's huge that they're (students) here. That we're here,” said Bridgette Bowen, who is the music teacher at Spencer Elementary School. "There's consistency with our teaching with the same people, especially in the younger grades because they like that consistency and they want us to be here as well."

The school board is considering a policy that would give employees who don't miss any days $500.

The bonus would decrease each day, and no bonus would be given to those who miss six or more days.

"I think with personal we really need to look at that more closely. You know, 'Do I just need a day off or is this an important event that I need to attend?' " said Amber Taylor, who is a teacher at Spencer Elementary School.

Last school year, more than a third of the district's 295 employees missed more than 15 days of work.

"We can pay less in bonuses to our employees than we would to pay substitutes to work on those days,” Superintendent Richard Duncan said.

Duncan said $12,000 in bonuses would’ve been given out last year. Right now, the district is paying about $375,000 annually for substitutes.

Some teachers are already thinking about what they'd do with the extra money.

"I thought about out-of-pocket money that I spend on my classroom and resources,” Taylor said. “We could look at that and put forth towards our classroom . . . the extra money that we get."

The school board will decide whether to approve the policy at its meeting Aug. 23.

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