ABERDEEN – After months of discussion and fine-tuning, the Aberdeen School Board approved the Excellence in Aberdeen teacher incentive program during its July 15 meeting. Sandra Peoples made the motion, and it was seconded by Patrick Lockett.

Teachers and staff members will be eligible for pay incentives for retaining and increasing school letter grade rankings as results of spring 2020’s state assessments. The results from this spring’s state testing will set the baseline.

“The growth and maintenance will be based off the spring of ’20,” said district superintendent Jeff Clay. “The policy states if they retire, we would honor payment but if they left to go somewhere else, we wouldn’t be obligated.”

In January when he introduced the idea to the school board, Clay said the incentive would have equated to $200,000 by terms of the current letter grade rankings compared to the previous school year’s scores.

He expects the first incentive payments to be made in December 2020.

“We’ve been working on this a really long time, and I’m excited about it. I think teachers need as much as we can afford, and we can afford this,” said school board president Jim Edwards.

The school board also approved a request to begin the process of collecting a $60,750 ad valorem tax shortfall reflective of the 2018-2019 school year budget.

In related items, resolutions to retain legal counsel with Young Law Group PLLC and to award the bid to People’s Bank were approved. People’s Bank was the only bidder.

In other business, the school board gave its support to former Aberdeen coach Don Rowe to move forward with starting a district athletics hall of fame.

“There are too many good players and coaches, and I think it’s time to do something to have them remembered for generations to come,” Rowe said.

He presented board members with a list of potential committee members and examples of what was included at the athletic hall of fame at his high school alma mater in metro Orlando.

“This is a good, diverse group. They come from all walks of life,” Peoples said of the committee candidates. “I think the hall of fame is something we should all be excited about.”

Ultimately, Rowe wants Aberdeen’s athletic hall of fame to include a banquet inducting new members. He will present rules, guidelines and committee members for the school board to vote on at a future meeting.

In another way of bridging the community with the school, Taste of Aberdeen Family Reunion organizer Charles Scott presented Clay with a $300 check for the Belle-Shivers Middle School Junior Beta Club. The donation was from part of the proceeds of the event.

District assistant business manager and human resources coordinator Elsie Beard said there are 24 new employees districtwide, as of the night of the board meeting, and there were still 12 or 13 vacancies. As part of the discussion, Clay said the number of students going into the education field are shrinking.

The school board approved a special-called meeting to be held Aug. 5. It also approved date changes for three upcoming meetings due to conflicts on their regular dates. October’s meeting will be held Oct. 24, January’s will be held Jan. 16, and February’s will be held Feb. 13.

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