SWEETWATER COUNTY– This evening, the Board of Trustees approved a one-time bonus for eligible employees of Sweetwater County School District #1.
It has been a District and community-wide effort to address the Legislative cuts. Salaries were frozen for the 16-17 and 17-18 school years and unfortunately, will remain so for the 18-19 school year.
In spite of this, the District saw an opportunity to thank our employees for their continued support of our students during this difficult fiscal time.
Questions and Answers Regarding the Bonus
Below are questions and answers surrounding the one-time bonus.
How can the District fund this one-time bonus?
The opportunity came in three areas: a data correction to the funding model; unfilled positions; and funds remaining from the Sick Leave Incentive payout for certified staff.
What is the total cost of the one-time bonus?
$2,533,183.41 in total for the general fund and grant funds.
How many positions are impacted by the one-time bonus?
Approximately 1,000 employees (certified and classified)
Why is the one-time bonus happening now?
The District received funds from the County Treasurer on May 24, 2018. Once the funds arrived, the District had solid numbers, instead of estimates, to proceed forward.
Could the District save this money and use it for cash reserves during the 2018-2019 school year? Can the money be used in other places? Or must it be used for employees?
The one-time employee bonus money could be utilized in other areas. However, the District anticipates hitting the cash carryover target leading into the 2018-2019 budget year and transferring needed funds to the health insurance fund and capital projects fund.
The capital projects fund, established a few years ago, has assisted the District through these difficult times in the areas of technology refreshes, custodial equipment, network upgrades, furniture, fixtures, and equipment, etc.
Through ongoing costs savings efforts, the District continues to prepare for the next Legislative decision. Due to the 15% cap on cash reserves in the general fund, the District cannot save enough cash to cover the projected deficit in 2020-2021.
At this time, the District is able to extend a thank you to our employees that have worked alongside us with frozen salaries and insurance changes.
Who is eligible for the one-time bonus?
To be eligible for this one-time payment, employees must be either full-time or part-time as of May 23, 2018, and have completed their first day of employment before May 1, 2018. Substitutes and temporary employees are not eligible for this one-time bonus.
How will the bonus be calculated?
For salaried employees, the amount will be based on four (4) experience steps of the applicable salary schedule of their primary job.
For hourly employees, the amount will be based on four (4) experience steps of the applicable salary schedule of their primary job and their scheduled work hours of their primary job for the school year.
Bonuses will be subject to required payroll taxes and Federal income tax withholding.
When will the one-time bonus be paid to an eligible employee?
The one-time payment will come in the form of a payroll run on June 6, 2018 made by direct deposit or paper check, whichever is currently on file with Payroll.
Why not give experience steps for a year of service and honor raises on the salary schedules instead of the one-time bonus?
The future of school funding is uncertain. By granting experience steps on the salary schedules, the District may not be able to sustain the cost over future years.
District Policy DA – Fiscal Management Goals notes the District is not allowed to use unpredictable revenue sources for reoccurring expenditures (i.e. salaries, benefits, etc.).
What is the fiscal vision moving forward?
The fiscal vision is to be financially responsible and conservative to plan and prepare for future Legislative cuts.
Education impacts Wyoming’s most important resource, our students. We have ONE OPPORTUNITY to provide a quality education and prepare our students to be productive citizens. A reduction in financial resources severely affects our ability to deliver a quality education.