Ask SAM added to shell 110518

Q: Who actually funds teachers’ pay? We see the State House and Senate debating teacher pay raises in the state budget, but also see the county discussing teacher pay in the county budget.

J.K.

Answer: It’s a mix.

“All teachers are state employees and the state funds and allocates teachers to districts based on a formula that takes into account student population and required class size,” said Brent Campbell, the spokesman for Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools, in an email response to SAM.

“Some counties, including ours, are part of a wonderfully supportive community that helps fund additional positions using local money,” he said. “For example, of the roughly 4,000 teaching positions in our district, we have roughly 300 positions that are funded with local money allocated by county commissioners. Those ‘extra’ positions allow the district to reduce some class sizes below state thresholds, add specialized positions such as instructional facilitators, and add some teaching assistants. Through the help of our county commissioners, we work to lower the student to teacher ratio and provide additional support positions with the goal of improving student outcomes.”

Those locally funded positions have to be paid following the same pay scale the state uses, he said, and on top of those local positions the county also provides a supplement for all teachers.

“That supplement helps to make teaching here more attractive and helps to retain teachers,” Campbell said. “Much of the local talk about teacher pay this year has been centered on efforts to increase the local supplement for all of our teachers in the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County School district.”

Q: I have read in the newspaper before about a man who fixes up bicycles and gives them to children who need one. I have three bicycles and one tricycle, and would like to give them to someone. They need tires and some repairs.

H.S.

Answer: One good option is to get in touch with Chris Culp, director of technology at Summit School, who teaches STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) at the school.

“One of the things we do is teach mechanical engineering through bicycle repair,” he said.

His students, in the sixth through ninth grades, repair old bicycles that are then donated to worthy causes and groups through the National Cycling Center.

“If we get hold of something we can’t repair, we scrap it and recycle what materials we can,” he said.

Culp and his students are following in the footsteps of the man H.S. was probably thinking of, Jesse “Mule” Powers, who died in 2014.

Both SAM and Journal columnist Scott Sexton wrote about Powers, who spent years repairing bicycles for needy kids.

Culp said that he found the story of Powers’ work helping kids to be inspirational and hoped to keep that tradition alive.

People interested in donating bikes can get in touch with Culp at cculp@summitmail.org.

If we hear from any other groups or individuals doing similar work, we will run a follow-up.

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Email: AskSAM@wsjournal.com

Online: journalnow.com/asksam

Write: Ask SAM, 418 N. Marshall St., Winston-Salem, NC 27101 

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