Cobb school board approves bonuses and new chair, vice chair

By Rebecca Gaunt

The Cobb County Board of Education approved the use of general funds to extend the one-time $1,000 governor’s bonus to all half-time or full-time non-temporary district employees and $500 to employees who work less than half-time.

Gov. Brian Kemp’s plan only funded a $1,000 bonus for full-time state employees.

Superintendent Chris Ragsdale brought the matter as an emergency item to Wednesday’s special-called meeting so the bonuses can be added to January paychecks.

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“Obviously the intent was by the governor to have that bonus be in December’s checks for employees, and that simply was impossible because we were already out on break,” Ragsdale said.

With the support of fellow Republican board members, Randy Scamihorn will take over from Republican board member Brad Wheeler to serve as board chair again. He last served as chair in 2022. David Banks will serve as vice chair for a fifth consecutive year.

Democratic board member Becky Sayler attempted to adjust the school board meeting calendar with a motion to hold work sessions on a different day than voting sessions for six months of the year. 

“We’ve had several important votes occur on the same day issues were brought up for the first time,” Sayler said.

Scamihorn objected on the grounds that the additional dates suggested by Sayler had not been provided in advance to the district and other board members. However, Sayler noted that the district had only just made the meeting dates available for the board to consider.

The motion failed 4-3 along party lines as it did last year when the Democratic board members supported a motion to separate the meetings for the entire year.

Democrat Tre’ Hutchins successfully made a motion to add a board retreat to include the superintendent and executive cabinet in 2024, with the date to be determined. It passed 6-0 with Banks voting present. Banks had attempted to table the vote to a later date earlier in the meeting.

Rebecca Gaunt earned a degree in journalism from the University of Georgia and a master’s degree in education from Oglethorpe University. After teaching elementary school for several years, she returned to writing. She lives in Marietta with her husband, son, two cats, and a dog. In her spare time, she loves to read, binge Netflix and travel.

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