09/14/04 — Schools, county reach teacher pay compromise

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Schools, county reach teacher pay compromise

By Matt Shaw
Published in News on September 14, 2004 2:00 PM

The Wayne County commissioners and school board members have reached a compromise on how much extra to pay teachers this year.

The Board of Education voted Monday night to raise the supplement from the current 3.5 percent to 6.5 percent, as the commissioners had asked. The raise on the supplement would not go into effect until spring.

The supplement is paid in two installments. The school board's action means the first payments in November will be 1.75 percent of the annual salaries, which is the current supplement.

Then in the spring the payment will be 3.25 percent, which represents half of the supplement. School board members, however, said that they will need money from the county commissioners to continue the supplement at that level.

The average salary paid the county's certified classroom teachers is just under $39,000, so the fall payment would be around $680 and the spring payment nearly $1,270.

County Manager Lee Smith suggested the compromise in a letter dated last Thursday. Superintendent Steven Taylor asked the school board to accept it, which it voted to do without any discussion.

The school system will still need to cut $900,000 from its budget to be able to afford the increase, Dr. Taylor said. "We're going to make every effort to do so and not affect the classroom."

The school board will receive a list of suggested cuts by November.

School board member John Grantham voted for the compromise but then called it "ridiculous."

The school board had asked for the money to raise the supplement to 5 percent. The commissioners didn't agree but after all the negotiations, the supplement will be 5 percent on average, Grantham said.

"Somehow, they feel vindicated by the process," he said. "It's just a childish game they're playing."

He pointed out that the commissioners have not promised to pay the higher supplement next year, so it could return to 3.5 percent.

Other school board members did not comment.

The county commissioners voted in June to increase its annual allotment to the school system by $760,000, provided the school system increase the supplement for certified, classroom teachers from 3.5 percent to 6.5 percent.

The school board responded in July and August that it could only afford to raise the supplement to 5 percent, but it would extend the raise to all certified personnel.

Both boards have wanted to increase the supplements to help the system in its teacher recruitment efforts. Nearby counties have paid more than Wayne, allowing them to hire away certified staff.