The Voice of the Gem City

OCTOBER 1, 2019

This is Marcia Lane, your roving reporter.

Policies including ones regarding video surveillance and electronic monitoring are on today’s agenda for the Putnam County School Board. However, it’s insurance that will be the major topic of conversation at a workshop Wednesday and a special meeting Thursday when the board is scheduled to award a bid for employee health and dental insurance. While salaries are important other factors including insurance can make the difference in where teachers decide to work. “You have to be competitive in order to get teachers,” said School Superintendent Rick Surrency regarding bids. Earlier this year the board agreed to a three percent across the board pay increase for employees.

In St. Johns County the school board is looking at increasing salaries. Following negotiations with the teacher’s union the board will put $4.8 million into teacher raises this year with the raises based on student test scores. Not everyone considers that fair.

So how much are teachers making? According to state figures the average for Florida’s more than 175,000 teachers on a 10-month contract is $48,486. In Putnam County with 638 teachers the average salary is $45,928. In St. Johns County, the best performing district in the state, average for the 2,438 teachers there is $46,632. In Flagler with 712 teachers, average pay for teachers is $50,937. Beginning salaries in each county are, of course, lower.

In Flagler County it took the jury only 39 minutes to find Joseph Frank Bova II guilty of murder in the 2013 death of Zuheily Roasada. Bova, who admitted his guilt, had tried to dismiss his attorneys and serve as his own attorney last week but the judge rejected his proposal. Bova has in the past been declared incompetent to stand trial after he murdered the mother of six who was working as a convenience store clerk when Bova came in and shot her three times.

A 15-year-old Matanzas High School student was arrested Monday and charged with making written threats to kill, a second-degree felony. Devin Jones told Flagler County Sheriff’s officers he put up the threat after seven males acted as if they were going to jump him in the bathroom. No fight took place. The youth later put up a SnapChat video showing himself holding a gun with a caption: “I got sum for y’all just wait till 2:15.” It’s the second time this year a Flagler County student has been arrested and charged with making a written threat.

Clay Electric customers in the Georgetown and Salt Springs areas of South Putnam Country reportedly found themselves without power for part of Monday night. The company said the outage was necessary to perform an emergency repair.

Palatka City Commission holds a special meeting Friday at 3:45 p.m. to interview five candidates for the job of city manager. One candidate has dropped out for personal reason. Interim City Manager Lee Garner, Lawrence McNaul, Adam Mengel, William Shanahan and Ryan Snow are scheduled to be interviewed.

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