Saturday, July 20, 2024

York Schools to Seek Contractor to Study Payscale

The York County School Division hopes to have a proposal to revamp its teacher salary scales by November, just in time to begin the budgeting process for 2015.

The School Board reviewed a draft version of a request for proposals at its Monday work session. The division wants to hire an independent contractor to study its current salary scale for licensed staff, with the goal of correcting inequity and attracting a quality, diverse staff.

Payscale reform is a top priority for York County’s teachers, who ranked the issue highest in two surveys conducted by the York Education Association in 2012. YEA President Carol Bauer presented the survey results in a report at the school board’s Dec. 18, 2012 meeting.

As it stands, the payscale is not equitable, doesn’t reward experience and longevity and isn’t attractive to new teachers, Bauer said. The inequity has grown since the advent of the recession, which pushed the division to put salary adjustments and step increases on hold for the past five years.

That’s left 76 teachers on “step zero” on the bachelor’s degree scale, 69 teachers on step zero on the master’s degree scale and seven employees on step zero of the master’s scale with more than 30 years of experience. When teachers receive continuing contracts, they should also receive compensation, Bauer said.

When hired, the contractor will review the teachers’ scale for 900 licensed employees. Presently, employees’ education level dictates which scale they’re on: bachelor’s degree, master’s degree or master’s plus 30 credit hours.

For each year of service over the course of 30 years, employees can expect “step” increases. York’s current scale keeps pay stagnant for the first five years of employment. Raises slow down again as employees near the 30-year mark.

The contractor will be asked to compare York’s scale with the scales of several regional school divisions, including Williamsburg-James City County and Newport News City schools. On Monday, board members suggested the contractor might look at the scales for several other divisions around the state, including Hanover County, Albemarle County and Northern Virginia. All could be considered competition for filling math and science vacancies or attracting highly qualified staff.

The company will recommend adjustments to be made, including an implementation plan and cost calculations. If an increase in funding is required, the contractor will be expected to calculate the cost of implementation for the fiscal year 2015 budget and also offer options for phasing in the changes.

The division would like the future contractor to explore additional forms of compensation, which come with several pros and cons. These include providing extra compensation for longevity, advanced degrees, National Board certification and hard-to-fill positions, such as science and math teaching openings.

Chief Financial Officer Dennis Jarrett, who will serve as the project contact for the contractor, said the division hopes to have a final report presented at a November work session. The cost to hire a contractor will be unknown until the division receives proposals.

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