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Teachers get pay increase

By Jimmy Alford | Published Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Teachers, librarians, nurses and counselors all got a slight pay bump Monday afternoon, when the Paradise ISD board of trustees approved all but one of the contracts they were presented.

At the end of the regular board meeting, trustees went into closed session to discuss contracts. The only one not approved was a probationary contract they simply did not renew, according to Superintendent’s secretary Cindy Staley.

The pay bump was equal to 1 percent from the midpoint salary average. Staley said Superintendent Monty Chapman took the average of the minimum and maximum pay grades and calculated a 1 percent raise for each employee – meaning a fixed dollar amount is added to each check even though the percentage raise will vary from teacher to teacher. For example, teachers at pay grade 10 would earn an additional $44 each month.

The board also unanimously approved a state policy update that gives teachers all their sick and personal days at the beginning of the school year, and extended the school’s depository contract for two more years.

They discussed several bills that could be approved by the state Legislature that would affect teacher retirement, cost the district money and possibly change Paradise’s graduation plans.

Chapman gave an update on House Bill 5, which recently passed the House of Representatives. This bill reduces from 15 to 5 the number of end-of-course exams required to graduate, and provides more flexibility in what plans and courses students can take in order to graduate.

He also told the board about HB 1884, which would set a minimum retirement age for teachers for the first time, shelving the “rule of 80″ or “rule of 90″ system that works by combining a teacher’s age with years of service.

While this bill has not been approved, Chapman said he felt it had a good possibility of getting through.

HB 1884 could also institute the first-ever payment from school districts into the Teacher Retirement System. Chapman said the bill’s language says districts would have to pay 1 percent yearly of the amount of the minimum pay grade for each employee.

“For example, if you take the minimum which is $27,800 for a first-year teacher and take 1 percent and multiply that by the number of employees we have, which is about 157, you’d get about $43,000 per year,” Chapman said.

Chapman said he was not in favor of school districts picking up the slack in the retirement system, and said all employees, including himself should pay more into system instead.

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