Contract employees save school system thousands 

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Brittney Burns – Staff Writer

During the December meeting of the Macon County Board of Education, the board unanimously approved two contracts at $57,600 each to renew employment with central office consultants who have decades of experience in Macon County.

Contracts with Terry Bell and Carol Arnold to continue working at the district’s central office, were renewed, and making them contract employees rather than full-time employees means big savings for the school system.

“Mr. Bell and Ms. Arnold have a high value to the school system in terms of knowledge and experience, and come at a reduced cost,” said Macon County Schools Superintendent Dr. Chris Baldwin. “$57,600 is at the low end of the salary scale for school system directors in their respective positions across the state.  This is especially true when factoring in their combined years of experience in a wide range of positions in schools, central offices and other state and county positions.  I consult with Ms. Arnold on a wide range of educational issues pertaining to Title I funding particularly with regard to how these funds can best be utilized to improve elementary education. Mr. Bell is a consultant primarily for, but not limited to, human resources issues.  For comparison, you might consider what other school systems pay their Human Resources, Title I, Title II, and/or Elementary Curriculum directors.”

Because both Bell and Arnold are contract employees, neither of them receive health insurance or retirement benefits, which translates to a savings of $38,511.04 for both employees.

The additional benefits costs associated with a full-time employee would add $4,406.4 (7.65%) for Social Security withholdings, $9,285.12 (16.12%) for retirement, and $5,564 for health insurance or $19,255.52 each.

Arnold is currently considered a contract employee, overseeing the district’s federal programs. She is responsible for managing the school system’s Title I & II programs. Title I, Part A (Title I) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, as amended (ESEA) provides financial assistance to local education agencies (LEAs) and schools with high numbers or high percentages of children from low-income families to help ensure that all children meet challenging state academic standards. The purpose of Title II, Part A is to increase the academic achievement of all students by helping schools and districts improve teacher and principal quality and ensure that all teachers are highly qualified.

Arnold also monitors the licensure for the district’s Exceptional Children (EC) teachers and manages the programs geared toward helping students in Macon County Schools who are considered to be homeless.

Arnold has nearly 40 years of experience in public education, beginning her career in 1977 as an elementary teacher. After six years as an elementary teacher, Arnold began working at Macon Middle School as an English, social studies, science and Exceptional Children’s teacher. After five years at MMS, Arnold transitioned to a state position as the EC Regional Consultant for the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, managing 18 school districts. After 15 years in that capacity, Arnold returned to Macon County to work in a variety of positions in the central office including Human Resource Director, Title IX Director, Director of EC Gifted and federal programs, and curriculum coordinator director.

While wearing many hats for Macon County Schools, Bell’s primary function is to serve as the district’s Human Resource Director. From interviews, employee retention and recruitment, managing certifications and licensures, Bell oversees all human resource functions of the school system. As needed, Bell also sees to the district’s facility and transportation needs.

Bell’s career in public education started nearly 44 years ago as a teacher in Macon County. Bell served as a teacher for 10 years before being hired as an assistant principal for Franklin High School. After five years as an assistant principal, Bell was hired as an elementary principal for the district where he worked for 17 years.

Bell made the transition to the central office in 2005 where he was hired as the Director of Auxiliary Services, a position he held until 2009 when he was hired by Macon County to serve as a school facility consultant during the district’s consolidation and new construction projects.

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