Halifax County School Board mulled over preliminary changes to various salary scales in a budget work session Monday afternoon.
Throughout the nearly four-hour meeting, board members reviewed salary scales for teachers, paraprofessionals, custodians and maintenance workers.
They also compared Halifax County Public Schools’ salary scales to salary scales used by school systems in Mecklenburg County, Brunswick County, Charlotte County, Campbell County and Pittsylvania County.
This was the second of two meetings held recently by the school board at an attempt to review salary scales and make any changes necessary. Salary scales for all employees were revised in November, and contracts were distributed in either January or February dependent upon if the employee is a 10-month employee or 12-month employee.
The changes to the salary scales were at an attempt to fix the “middle” of the scales for those with years of service ranging from 10 to 20 years, where the school board feels they’re lacking compared to other school districts.
Following a March 9 closed meeting, the school board released a statement saying they had identified “inconsistencies in the application of the increases.”
On Monday, prior to delving into the numerous salary scales, director of student service Jeff Davis provided the school board with regulation GCBA-R2, their guiding document for awarding credit for previous experience, which was adopted and revised in 2013.
The current regulation says “if an individual holds a bachelor’s degree or higher with previous teaching experience, the individual will be awarded one year for one year.”
It also includes guidelines for career switchers, military experience, maintenance and mechanic experience, secretarial experience, paraprofessional experience to a teacher, status change from professional and retiree-critical shortage area teacher.
However, it does not address other status changes such as a teacher being promoted to an administrative position.
In Pittsylvania County Public Schools, they award teachers two years for one year towards administrative step.
Interim superintendent Valdivia Hall informed the board that HCPS used to have a conversion of one to four. But that “fell by the wayside.”
“What we did was when someone took an administrative position, we would look at who had the closet experience” and place them on the scale, said Hall.
“I don’t understand why would we give that… they aren’t in that administrative job until they’re promoted,” said ED-8 trustee Walter Potts.
ED-6 trustee Lacey Shotwell also noted that their scales should be set up so that a base pay for administration should be higher than a teacher anyways.
Vice chairman Roy Kieth Lloyd also said he would hope if a teacher was promoted to administration then he or she would start at step one on the administration scale.
Shotwell also said they have not been consistent with years of experience.
“Placement is off,” Hall added.
The board then decided to use a spreadsheet created by Shotwell to review salary scales.
Starting with the teacher salary scales, Hall informed the board that minimum education for a teacher is obtaining a bachelor’s degree.
Shotwell called the teachers’ scales “relatively good,” but Lloyd said the “10-20 years” is where they’re “lagging.”
Potts asked what the percentage of change is between years of experience on the teacher scale, and Hall said it varies.
Hall also told the board teachers currently receive an extra $2,186 if they obtain their masters and an extra $4,372 if they obtain their doctorate.
The school board proposed changing that to $2,200 for a masters and $4,000 for a doctorate.
The board also discussed the possibility of taking money from the top of the teacher pay scale to supplement the middle, but they realized that could result in some teachers losing pay, which they were not OK with.
“I’m not about taking nobody’s money,” said Potts.
ED-2 trustee Jay Camp then told the board he had not received any complaints from teachers. Others agreed.
The board then reviewed paraprofessionals’ salary scales.
Halifax County Public School has a salary scale for paraprofessionals who do not have a degree, but have passed the Praxis test and have college hours. They also have another scale for paraprofessionals with an associate’s degree and a scale for paraprofessionals with a bachelor’s degree.
The school board suggested they reduce the number of scales and offer a $1,000 incentive for those who earn an associate’s degree and a $2,000 incentive for those who earn a bachelor’s degree.
They also proposed making the base pay for paraprofessionals $16,810 and cap their pay at $29,830 at 30 years with a 2.5% increase annually.
The board then reviewed scales for custodians and maintenance employees.
Base pay for custodians employed by Halifax County Public Schools is currently $22,880, which is $11 an hour.
The current pay scale has a 30-year custodian earning $27,451.
The school board proposed that their end goal should be $30,160 for custodians.
Lloyd also suggested that a head custodian should earn at least $13 an hour during his first year in the position. At $13 an hour, his or her pay would be $27,040.
The board suggested their end goal for pay for a year-30 custodian should be $34,320.
Following the board’s open meeting to discuss salary scales, the board then convened in closed session.
They returned to open session where they met with director of operations and maintenance Steve Brumfield to receive clarification on the classification of maintenance workers.
The board ended the meeting with asking central office staff to crunch the numbers in the budget to see what they could afford.
ED-3 trustee Melissa Hicks was absent from the meeting.