The Board of Education approved deferring a decision on raises for staff until October 2020 and also approved suspending the points system for certified staff at least until the fall at its regular meeting on Monday, May 18.
Board president Annette Ashley presided over the meeting at the District Services Center, while other Board members participated remotely. The School Board has held four virtual meetings since mid-March.
Assistant Superintendent of Operations Lori Ames noted Board discussed these items in April. She also shared that while a few smaller districts in CESA 2 have decided on wage increases for next year most larger ones appear to be holding off until the state provides more information about Year 2 of its biennial budget.
Ames noted when she first started with MCPASD the Board waited until September to make a decision on wage increases. In past 3-4 years, the Board has made wages a higher priority so an increase was part of the District's budget assumptions. Ames noted last year the Board approved every teacher moving a level, which works out to about a $1,200 increase, while other staff members received a 2.3 percent increase. When more funds became available after the school year started, the Board allocated additional funds toward salaries.
Ames reminded the Board the current certified staff compensation plan provides points for participation in professional development and years of experience. However, the District put the points system on hold a year ago and reconvened the Compensation Committee to look at alternatives. Staff have continued to earn points and the plan is for the committee to reconvene in the fall to continue its work.
The Board had a lengthy discussion on the topics. Board members were proud that the District has continued to pay staff and provide benefits during these challenging times. A number of Board members thought it would be difficult to commit to anything at this point without having more information. Members also indicated they continue to support addressing compensation to make it more competitive and that will remain a priority.
Members asked about the possibility of using fund balance for salary increases to help offset lower state aid or other revenues that might drop. Ames noted District normally uses fund balance for one-time expenses. If fund balance were used on salaries, the District would need to think about how that increased expense is covered in future budgets, she said.