School board discusses classified, administrative salaries, but makes no decisions

Huntington County Community School Corp. Board of Trustees discussed classified employee and administrative salaries during its meeting on March 9, but made no decisions on either issue.

In making his presentation, Superintendent Tracey Shafer told the school corporation's trustees that his hope is to keep increases for classified employees and administrators in line with those recently set for teachers in their new contract.

"We're trying to keep everything in context with the teachers' salaries," he said.

The teachers' salary increase involved three areas - base raise, incremental schedule increase, and cost of insurance increase.

Shafer's recommendations for classified employees include:

• Base raise - 0 percent increase on the base for 2008-2009.

- Recurring 25 cent schedule increase for 2009-2010.

• Incremental schedule - 25 cent non-recurring, one-time payment proportionate to the teacher incremental scale cost for 2008-2009.

- 25 cent recurring incremental increase for 2009-2010 (added to the base raise for 2009-2010 that represents a 50 cent total increase).

• Cost of insurance increase - Continuation of paying the increase in the health insurance plan at its present rate.

Shafer also recommended that the board provide the administration authority to pursue implementation of an elective 403(b) employee contribution matching benefit program for 12 month classified employees not to exceed 2 percent, which is currently being observed by teachers and administrators, he noted. The plan is to be brought back to the board for final approval prior to implementation.

Shafer's administrative salary recommendations, to be applicable to all administrative team members including the superintendent, are:

• Base raise - 0 percent increase for 2008-2009.

- 1.5 percent increase for 2009-2010 without consideration to insurance savings.

• Incremental Schedule - Non-recurring one-time payment proportionate to the teacher incremental scale cost for 2008-2009. This amount is $4.50 per day and is to be prorated to the length of each administrator's days worked this school year.

- No incremental increase for 2009-2010.

• Cost of insurance increase - Continuation of paying the increase in the health insurance plan at its present rate.

Also, as per written recommendation on classifed-technology director, increase incremental raise to reflect attainment of master's degree - step 6 on the teacher scale.

Shafer also provided details of the teachers' salary increases so the trustees could compare them with the recommended increases for classified employee and administrative salaries.

"What we're trying to do is to stay within that same proportional amount," Shafer told the board.

Teacher salary increases include:

• Base raise - 0 percent increase for 2008-2009.

- 1.5 percent increase on base for 2009-2010 with additional if insurance costs are held down.

• Incremental Schedule- Teachers as a group received incremental payment on the schedule. Recurring cost to corporation represents about 1.25 percent increase per year as applied across all teachers (4.4 percent average increase to those currently on the schedule).

- Recurring increment paid in both 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 in addition to any base raise.

• Cost of insurance - Covered the additional cost of the insurance increase (20 percent).

School board Secretary Rex Baxter and board member Scott Hoffman had some issues regarding the classified employee increases and wanted the board to hold off on making any decisions Monday night.

"I think we should table this for at least another meeting," Baxter said, making a motion to that effect.
Hoffman seconded the motion and some discussion followed.

"I think there's some classifications we need to look at - see if we can find some more money for them," Hoffman said.

One example, he noted, is an entry-level custodian who had a starting wage of $9.64 during the 2001-2002 school year. Eight years later, an entry-level custodian has a starting wage of $10.22.

"It doesn't seem like it's proportional," Baxter said. "It's the same thing that always happens - teachers get the steak and classifieds get the gristle."

Board members unanimously voted to table the issue until their next meeting, which is on Monday, March 23. Board President Kevin Patrick, however, abstained from the vote because his wife is a classified employee of the school corporation.