Blount County Board of Education Collaborative Conferencing Committee mulls pay raise option
By Matthew Stewart | (email@example.com)
The Blount County Board of Education Collaborative Conferencing Committee is vetting a revised pay increase option for fiscal year 2013-14.
During Monday’s meeting, Blount County Education Association President Grady Caskey presented committee members with a revised estimate for his team’s preferred pay increase. BCEA favors an option that will increase the school district’s base salary by $456, multiply its base salary by an indexed number, and pay for a step increase.
Caskey estimates the recurring expenditure will cost $795,617, including $112,860 in payroll taxes and withholdings. The option was previously estimated to cost $1,207,285, including $171,256 in payroll taxes and withholdings.
The school district’s decreased number of certified employees and each employee’s placement on the district’s salary schedule resulted in the $411,668 difference, Caskey said. The Blount County Board of Education has eliminated 24 certified positions, decreasing the number of total certified employees to 828.
System-level administrators were unable to immediately verify Caskey’s estimate. They need to check the estimate against the district’s list of employees, and fiscal administrator Troy Logan advised that it would take several days.
The committee will reconvene at 4:30 p.m. Monday in the Central Office, 831 Grandview Drive.
Board team’s option
The Blount County Board of Education approved an $81 million budget for fiscal year 2013-14 that allocates $303,000 in state BEP (Basic Education Program) funds, which are earmarked for certified employee pay increases, and $47,000 in payroll taxes and withholdings for a one-time supplemental wage.
Board members noted that the action was subject to collaborative conferencing.
The school board’s team previously voted for another option that will increase the school district’s base salary by $456 and multiply its base salary by an indexed number. The recurring expenditure was previously estimated to cost $720,360, including $102,184 in payroll taxes and withholdings.
The option also allocates $91,000 to bring the district’s salaries in line with the state’s salary schedule. Ten pay grades aren’t aligned with the schedule that sets minimum compensation levels. Nearly 125 teachers fall into these pay grades.
BCEA’s preferred option doesn’t allocate resources to bring those salaries in line, Caskey said. He advised that Blount County Schools’ salaries will be compliant this year, but they will need to make adjustments prior to next school year.
Caskey noted that the school district has two options: ask the state Department of Education to lower the state’s portion of its salary, or create a memorandum of understanding that describes the agreement between both parties. BCEA favors the second option.
The organization’s members want to move away from salaries being based upon local and state contributions, he said. “It’s a little too confusing.”
BCEA wants to revert to the school district’s previous mode of calculating salaries, which set a base salary and multiplied that amount by an indexed number, Caskey said. The district used this mode of calculation prior to the last five years to seven years.
Blount County Schools would be amenable to those discussions, said Director of Schools Rob Britt. “I think it would be beneficial to talk about one number.”