WS/FCS Board of Education approves revised salary schedule

Published 11:04 pm Tuesday, January 11, 2022

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The WS/FCS Board of Education approved a revised salary schedule at its regular meeting Tuesday. Under the newly approved schedule, the certified employee annual supplement increase will be $1,800 per year, the largest increase in the last three years. This increase is effective immediately and is retroactive to the beginning of this school year.

The cost of the increased supplements is approximately $10 million and will be funded with $5.6 million from Article 46 sales tax revenue. $2.2 million will come from county funding that will be recurring starting with fiscal year 2022-23. The balance will be achieved through the utilization of other permanent funding sources.

“This amount is sustainable based on current local funding levels,” said WS/FCS Chief Financial Officer Andrea Gillus, “and that is important as we look to a future that may not include a surplus of federal funds.”

The new salary schedule approved by the board is in response to a previous vote in December to approve new salary schedules for certified staff.  Since that approval, an error in the formula calculation was discovered and the amount approved was roughly $16 million over what was budgeted for local supplement increases. The calculation error was discovered before the schedule was implemented and executed.

The new annual supplement marks a significant increase from recent years. For example, in 2018-19, the annual supplement for a beginning teacher was $2,600. It was increased to $3,315 in 2019-20, and $4,600 in 2020-21. The newly approved schedule for 2021-22 will mark a $1,800 increase over last year, for a total of $6,400. Because of the steps in salary scales, teachers with more experience have seen even greater increases when including the step increase.

“This calculation error was significant and brought to light important process changes needed within our Human Resources Compensation Team.  We never want to provide false information, which is exactly what happened in this situation. I am thankful to say that we are able to increase the supplement to $1,800. My goal was to close the gap as much as possible between what was approved and the original supplement budget. I am very aware that educators are underpaid, and I am committed to finding additional funds that we can allocate toward employee salaries,” said WS/FCS Superintendent Tricia McManus.

Since the calculation error, new WS/FCS compensation practices have been put into place. All compensation estimations must now have two staff members from Human Resources and two staff members from Finance review them for accuracy. Additional training is being provided on how to review for accuracy and any estimates will now be calculated using multiple methods.

In addition to supplements for certified staff, the board also heard an update on approved and proposed bonuses for all staff members. Proposed future bonuses include an ESSR funded Recognition and Retention Bonus of $1,500 for all staff in February and another in April. A locally funded spring bonus of $700 for certified staff and $500 for all other staff has already been approved for May. In total, WS/FCS employees will receive bonuses of $5000 or more this school year.