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Board of Education Contemplates Teacher Raises

From the Daily Independent
April 13, 2017
Story by Mike James

CANNONSBURG:  The Boyd County Board of Education is exploring faculty raises, which officials say could help attract good teachers to the district and prevent other districts from poaching the best ones.

“This is something we have to do to keep qualified teachers in the Boyd County system,” board chairman Bob Greene said Wednesday. “This is a small county anyway; there’s the county district and two independent school districts, and three districts in Greenup County, and we compete with Lawrence County and Carter County too.”

The board has a number of options for sweetening the pot for its teachers, according to district finance director Don Fleu, who outlined the choices for the board at a special meeting earlier this week.

One is an across-the-board 1 percent raise.

Another is to add an additional year to its salary schedule so that its most experienced teachers could get raises without jumping ship. Currently the schedule is capped at 25 years, which means once a teacher accumulates that many years of experience, no further raises are possible, except for state-mandated ones.

It also could look at salaries for less-experienced teachers, including those fresh out of college, with an eye toward attracting talented graduates, especially those with much-needed specialties such as science, according to Fleu.

The cost to the district would depend on which option or options the board chose, Fleu said. Adding the 26th year raise would cost in the neighborhood of $25,000 per year, while adopting the entire menu would bring the price tag to about $197,000.

A comparison with neighboring districts shows Boyd salaries somewhere in the middle, Fleu said. Boyd has lost some teachers to other districts that pay better. “There’s a lot of competition for good quality teachers,” he said.

If the board wants to raise salaries it will have to come up with the money to do it, either by cutting other expenses or raising property taxes, he said.

The district has already pared expenses and cutting more would be difficult, he said. “We’ve been running lean the last couple of years and I don’t know how much more we could do,” he said.

By state law school boards are allowed to raise property taxes enough to raise 4 percent more money each year without being subject to recall by voters. If the board decided on a tax hike, it wouldn’t have to take the entire 4 percent, Fleu said.

The salary discussions are in preliminary stages but the board is expected to make some recommendations in May, Fleu said.

All options, including tax increases, are on the table, Greene said.

The board also discussed some maintenance issues, including the need to replace heating and air conditioning at Ponderosa and Summit elementaries. Doing so would cost around $400,000 or $500,000 for each school, Fleu said.

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