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The Shelby County School Board approved on Thursday a 2013-14 pay schedule for substitute teachers that included budget cuts that will save the district more than $143,000.
However, the decrease in pay is less than what had been proposed in February that would have saved the district $200,000. That initial change was part of a large proposal from the district’s budget committee that included eliminating nearly $2 million and about 26 jobs from the district's budget.
The original cut to substitute pay, which would have decreased the daily rate by almost 23 percent at the highest level and removed back pay for subs who worked more than 20 days as a long-term-sub, was stalled at salary schedule hearing in April because of protests from several longtime subs and former teachers who had attended the meeting.
At Thursday night’s meeting, four substitute teachers were in the audience but made no comment as the board approved a pay scale that exceeded the plan proposed in February with a compromise. At the top scale, substitute teachers now will be paid $130 per day, down from $147, and they no longer will receive retroactive pay on their 20th consecutive day in replacing a teacher. In February that rate had been proposed at $119.
Under last year's payment system, at the highest levels, Shelby County's $147 was $29 per day higher than any surrounding school system except for Jefferson County. The new pay scale of $115 per day for Rank I teachers is $3 less than Anchorage and Franklin County but higher than all surrounding districts except Jefferson County.
Many board members expressed satisfaction with the result, especially because the original proposal did not factor in any kind of experience.
"Even though this isn't the amount of savings we wanted initially, we'll still have some savings," said Brenda Jackson, who had been part of the budget committee.
Karen Sams agreed. "I definitely think it is a good option," she said.
"We knew we had to make cuts. We just have to look at the amount of the cut," Jackson said. “It’s not like we’re robbing Peter to pay Paul.”
Jackson made the motion to approve the following salary schedule, with Eddie Mathis seconding. Board Chair Doug Butler was the only dissenting vote.
“It’s not a matter of robbing Peter to pay Paul; it’s Peter and Paul’s money,” Butler said.
The adjustment specifies:
Regular sub pay scale
Rank I: Active $115; 15+ years experience $130
Rank II: Active $105; 15+ years experience $120
Rank III: Active $95; 15+ years experience $95
Rank IV: Active $85; 15+ years experience $85
Long-term sub pay scale
Rank I: Active $230; 15+ years experience $260
Rank II: Active $210; 15+ years experience $240
Rank III: Active $190; 15+ years experience $190
Rank IV: Active $170; 15+ years experience $170
Superintendent James Neihof told the board that preparations under way for kindergarten.
"We have been working on that; teachers have been getting ready for kindergarten all week, and the bus schedule is almost finished," he said.
Neihof said three more special education teachers are needed.
"We had an unusual turnover with retirement this year," he said.
Neihof also introduced Ayana Peake as the reading and math proficiency coordinator for the district and Michelle Oakley as new director of special education, replacing Brenda King who has been named principal for the new Northside Early Childhood Center, which is scheduled to open in January. King had been special education director for Shelby County Schools since 2009.
At the meeting, board members also:
§ Heard from Andrew Pope about his Eagle Scout project to install benches at Collins High School for the cross-country team.
§ Approved 2014 district assurances to secure state and federal funding.
§ Approved a second reading of revised SCPS board policies, which included increasing the dropout age from 16 to 18 years old. Because more than 55 percent of the state’s school districts had already approved the change, the increase from will take affect as state law in 2017-18.
§ Approved a fuel vendor list for the 2013-14 school year.
§ Approved board minutes for the June 27 board meeting.