Sun04202014

Last updateTue, 04 Nov 2014 9pm

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Bonuses estimated to cost $660K

Division to pay FICA and Medicare costs

The King George School Board is paying the FICA and Medicare payroll taxes for employees who will this week receive bonuses on June 30. The end-of-year bonuses will be paid on time, as originally scheduled, according to county accounting manager, Robyn Shugart.

That clarification that FICA and Medicare would be picked up by the division was provided at this week’s School Board meeting on June 27 by Chairman Renee Parker. The additional cost for the bonuses was not

mentioned during either of the votes by the School Board at previous meetings.

The bonuses are estimated to cost $660,000, but the numbers to arrive at that estimate have changed in the last week and could change again if the payroll department reworks the numbers.

The Journal had last week requested a detailed explanation of the bonus amounts from Superintendent Candace Brown, copying members of the School Board and Board of Supervisors. We instead received an email reply on June 21 from Wilma Ward, Brown’s financial administrative assistant, noting in full only, “Dr. Brown is on annual leave today. In answer to your email, employees will be paying taxes on their bonuses.”
That served to only obfuscate the matter.

Parker was asked for bonus details at that night’s supervisor meeting on June 21, because the numbers didn’t match. Parker didn’t have the information available and said she would clarify it at this week’s meeting.

The Journal likewise last week asked the county finance department for details it was provided on the bonus amounts and received a June 23 email response from Shugart that read in full, “Below are e-mails regarding the bonus — based on comments from the Chairman at the Board of Supervisors’ meeting — Dr. Brown has said not to do anything until after the June 27 School Board meeting as clarification is going to be made.”

SCHOOL BOARD BONUSES    

The School Board bonuses had originally been intended to be $500 to match bonus amounts that county employees will likewise receive on June 30.

But, on June 13 the School Board voted to add an additional $500 to the bonuses to go from $500 to $1,000 for full-time and from $250 to $750 for those who work 20 hours or less per week during the school year. At that meeting, Brown had estimated the cost of the additional raises at about $276,000, saying it could come from her estimated $400,000 surplus she was anticipating. But the cost is much higher.

The $1,000 bonuses for the 542 employees working 20 or more hours per week will actually be higher to cover the employee’s share of FICA and Medicare. The division will also pay an additional amount for its own required share of FICA for each. The county has estimated the cost of each $1,000 bonus at $1,200.84, but it could cost more.

Similarly, the seven employees who work fewer than 20 hours per week during the school year will likewise receive more than $750 so they end up with that amount in their pocket after FICA and Medicare payroll taxes are deducted.

Ward this week verified to The Journal that all employees who were “under contract” for 2010-11 would receive the bonuses, regardless of whether they are remaining with the school division.

That includes a $1,000 bonus as a parting gift for assistant superintendent Dick Roberts (salaried at $104,171) whose retirement, effective July 1, was approved during the same meeting this week, along with King George Middle School principal Seidah Ashshaheed’s resignation and several teachers, and others who have handed in resignations or retirement notifications in recent months, including high school guidance director Diane Eskey.

There is no distinction in bonus amounts between those who work 12 months, 11 months, 10 months or only 180 days of the school year.

MYSTERY HOLD PUT ON BONUSES?    
Parker’s statement near the end of the June 27 meeting began as a follow-up to comments she made at that June 21 meeting of the Board of Supervisors. (That meeting is scheduled for broadcast on Metrocast Cable’s channel 8 at 8 p.m. and midnight on Tuesday and Thursday, with this June 27 School Board meeting to be broadcast on Monday and Wednesday.)

But it also contained other elements. Parker spoke at length, claiming she did not know who put a hold on processing the bonus checks, blaming communication with the county finance department. Brown sat mum.

 

Phyllis Cook

 

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