Superintendent Jeff Moss estimates each Saturday will cost about $75,000 in staff overtime pay, he said at Tuesday night’s board meeting.
Classified staff, which includes bus drivers and teachers’ assistants, must be paid overtime pay at a rate no less than time and one-half their regular rates of pay for working more than 40 hours in a week under the Fair Labor Standards Act.
District staff were already paid for the two days the district closed because of Tropical Storm Irma, Sept. 11 and 12, so the $150,000 estimate applies only to the additional half-time pay.
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“There are going to be challenges to a Saturday,” Moss said at an earlier board meeting.
At some point, Moss sent the Beaufort County Board of Education a plan for two makeup days in January that would have pushed first semester past Christmas break. He said he had conversations with student advisories about the plan, but noted the response was “lukewarm.”
“I’m not pursuing that option any longer unless the board decides differently,” he said.
Neither Moss nor board members brought up the financial cost of holding school on weekends last spring when the board designated eight Saturdays as the weather makeup days, meeting minutes show. No staff or parent input was sought on the plan that included only Saturdays as designated makeup days.
It’s the only district of the state’s 20 largest to rely entirely on Saturdays in the case of inclement weather, according to a review of 2017-18 academic calendars. The 19 other districts identified only weekdays as backup dates.
However, neighboring Jasper County School District has also turned to weekend dates to recoup lost seat time. In an announcement last week, the district selected three Saturdays — Nov. 11, Nov. 18 and Dec. 9. All three dates are half-days. Elementary students will be dismissed at 11 a.m.; middle and high school students will be done at noon.
Two of the dates Jasper County School District selected, Nov. 11 and Dec. 9, were also at one time in play for Beaufort County School District.
However, Moss took Nov. 11 off the schedule last month because it conflicted with Veterans Day and Heritage Days Celebration on St. Helena Island. Dec. 9 was pulled from the lineup last Friday because of ACT scheduling.
“We do not set that testing schedule,” Moss said. “The College Board does.”
It’s a schedule that appears to be set far in advance.
According to the Board’s website, test dates through July of 2019 are already booked, so it’s unclear why the district planned a makeup day on a major testing day for high school students.
Beaufort County School District’s makeup days are Nov. 18 and Dec. 16.