Not often does a school board take delight in spending more money on something.
But members of the Waterville Central School Board of Education cheered the news last week and asked to do it again this year.
Under the new District Data Point of the Month portion of WCS Board meetings, WCS Superintendent Dr. Jennifer Spring reviewed the Teacher Attendance incentive added to the contract with the Waterville Teachers Association when approved last year. Under the agreement, teachers who limit their sick day use to three days received a cash stipend. Personal days are not counted towards the total.
Those who used none or one received $2,500 and those who used two or three received $1,000. Four of the 11 Teacher assistants received smaller amounts for those categories.
Last year 18 of the district’s 66 teachers used none or one, while another 10 used two or three. Those numbers are up from 2021-22, when five teachers used zero or one and six used two or three.
Spring said five staff members were on long-term extended leaves last year, for a total of 151.5 days. Five was a higher than typical number, she said.
Still, even with the five on extended leave, the number of teacher sick days came in at 498 last year compared to 660 for 2021-22. That increased teacher attendance days by 162.
Costs to bring in substitute teachers dropped $46,517 compared to 2021-22. The total dropped from $124,980 to $78,463.
The stipends totaled $57,750, so the incentive program cost WCS $11,233. However, Board members were in agreement the extra spending was worth it.
“It is about the money, but not just that,’’ Board member Steve Stanton said. “It’s better for kids if their teacher is there.’’
Spring said there was some confusion because WCS allows teachers to…