By Greg Bird
The McCreary County Board of Education took more actions Monday night to raise salaries for staff to provide the District with a more competitive salary schedule when compared to other districts in the region.
For the past two months the Board has been looking at making adjustments to the District’s salary schedule, with the intention to providing minor raises to custodial, support and other staff positions with the intent to bring those salaries on par with other districts.
Monday night the Board mainly looked at administrators, giving extra percentage increases to several positions, effectively returning those salaries to the level they were three years ago.
Between the 2015 and 2016 school year the Board of Education made several changes to the administrative salaries in the wake of drastic budget cuts due to a shortage of funds.
In a controversial move at that time the Board stripped several extra days from most positions and reduced the extra service percentage by as much as 17-percent. The move was not met with much joy from the affected administrators who saw salary reductions from the move.
On Monday the Board reversed the earlier decision, increasing extra percentages for seven positions, and adding extra days to an eighth.
The High School Principal position was awarded an extra 11-percent, bringing that position to 25-percent additional pay. Middle School and Elementary School Principal positions were awarded an additional three percent for a total of 15-percent extra pay.
The Assistant Superintendent position was awarded a 15-percent increase, while the Director of Pupil Personnel and Special Education Coordinator position gained an additional five percent as well. The Food Service Coordinator position was granted an additional 25 extra days, bringing the total to 55 to reflect the days worked on the summer feeding program and other administrative duties.
Over the past few years the Board has returned much of the extra days to the contracts removed in 2015, and Monday’s action returns the bulk of the extra percentage bringing the salaries back to 2015 levels.
Most principals and administrators are paid on a sliding scale, based on years of experience and ranks achieved. Additional days are tacked on to the contract to reflect time spent working outside of the normal school year, and each day is calculated based on their daily rate. The extra service percentage is added based off total salary.
Board Chairman Dustin Stephens said the moves were designed to bring the District’s salaries to a competitive level with other districts, making it easier to attract highly-qualified staff to the District.
The moves were not without some controversy as one citizen in attendance questioned why the Board would consider giving Assistant Superintendent Aaron Anderson a raise.
Stephens said the Board could not consider individuals when making salary decisions, only positions. “Places, not faces,” he stated. The Board handles job duties, not personnel, he explained. He added only the Superintendent could make personnel decisions.
Board member Lori Foster further stated that the Assistant Superintendent position is over the pre-school program, which had “made phenomenal strides for our District over the past couple of years.”
She noted the District was ranked first in the state for the pre-school program, and the expansion of the pre-school program this year would mean extra work for whoever is in the position.
“I think we need to make the position competitive,” Stephens reiterated.
In other actions the Board bumped two maintenance positions one grade and approved hiring independent contractors as employees of the District to allow them to be covered by the Board’s liability insurance.
The next meeting of the McCreary County Board of Education is scheduled for Monday, July 22 at 6:30 p.m.