Students get awards for good attendance.
Carroll Schools Superintendent R. Edward Shilling will get one, too. It amounts to $94,401.
That's the sum Mr. Shilling has earned for unused sick days and vacation over his 30 years in Carroll County schools.
Good health brings rewards to all Carroll school employees. Over the years, unions have negotiated into their contracts clauses that allow members to get paid for all unused sick days when they retire, at the rate of 50 percent of their salary at retirement.
A teacher retiring after 30 years of generally good health typically leaves the system with a check for $25,000 to $30,000 for the sick days not taken, said Walter Brilhart, director of finance for the schools.
"It's a benefit that's considered a very good one," Mr. Brilhart said. "It rewards an employee for their service in the job."
Other school systems have similar policies. Frederick County pays at a 40 percent rate for unused sick leave, he said.
Although Mr. Shilling's payout is at the same 50 percent rate as a teachers, a superintendent's salary is the highest in a school system. Mr. Shilling's salary at retirement is $111,126, about the seventh-highest statewide.
The Board of Education also gave him $7,000 this year toward a tax-sheltered annuity and paid for his contribution to the Maryland State Retirement System, another $7,778, or 7 percent of his salary. Both benefits are in his contract.
Mr. Shilling will receive $63,066 for his 239.5 unused sick days. The figure is calculated on half his daily pay in salary, plus the annuity and retirement benefits, Mr. Brilhart said.
The 59.5 days of unused vacation earned Mr. Shilling another $31,335, Mr. Brilhart said.
For unused vacation days, all employees receive full pay. Mr. Shilling, however, has 25 days of vacation per year, 10 more than other administrators. And unlike other employees, he had no limit on the number of vacation days he could carry over.
Other employees can get payouts for any vacation time they don't use, although they have to take the money at the end of each year. Mr. Shilling was allowed to carry the days to retirement. As with sick leave, the payout is based on his salary at retirement.
Another benefit Mr. Shilling takes with him is a term life insurance policy until he reaches age 70, also in the contract the board negotiated with him in 1991. The policy would pay $400,000.
Mr. Brilhart said that insurance package cost the board $16,000.
Mr. Shilling announced in April that he would retire, midway into the budget year from which his payouts will come. Tomorrow is his last day.
However, Mr. Brilhart said the cost of Mr. Shilling's sick leave and vacation payout will not throw off the budget, and that the total amount of such payouts for all retiring employees is coming in under budget.
Each year, the board projects and budgets an amount for such payouts to all employees who will retire, he said. The projection is based on the number of people reaching retirement age and a analysis of how many sick days they have accumulated, Mr. Brilhart said.
Mr. Shilling's retirement didn't affect the budget any more than, say, two more teachers announcing they would retire, Mr. Brilhart said.
For the current year, Mr. Brilhart said, the schools had budgeted $510,000 for retirement payouts.
"We look like we're going to be in under that," he said, "about $470,000 or $480,000 by the time it's all done."
Last year, the board paid a total of $585,369 for unused sick leave, including $45,000 to a longtime administrator who retired.