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SCHOOL BOARD: Pay increases for staff and tax hike are possibilities

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By Jerianne Strange

 Staff and faculty of LaRue County Schools may be getting a pay raise, but they likely won’t be getting their paychecks more than once a month.

    Last month, Carla Preston, president of the LaRue County Education Association, asked the board to consider a pay raise for personnel and issuing paychecks twice a month rather than the current monthly payment. She said 70 percent of the LCEA membership would prefer to get paychecks twice a month rather than once.

     Superintendent Sam Sanders presented information to the board Monday showing the amount of pay staff receive would not change, but additional staff would be required to process twice-monthly paychecks.

    “It’s a lot of work,” Sanders said. “And the only real benefit is that it helps employees budget.”

    He said the district issues about 450 paychecks each month, which requires about 120 hours. Changing to a twice-monthly system would require reprocessing of employee deduction, salary tables would need to be reconverted and salary job pays for each employee – certified and classified – would have to be deleted and re-added.

    “In the end, they would still make the same amount,” he said. “It would be more hours involved in payroll.”

     On the subject of a pay raise, Sanders acknowledged it has been a few years since certified personnel received a pay increase. He provided information showing that certified staff received a $3,000 increase in the 2007-08 school year, followed by a 1 percent increase in both the 2008-09 and 2009-10 school years. There have been no pay raises since then.

    “Yes, I’d like to give a raise if we can,” he said. “Salaries need to be competitive in order to attract and keep good teachers.”

    He also said that when certified staff receive pay increases, so do classified employees.

    Over the past few years, the district has kept taxes stable. An increase in property taxes might be necessary to provide pay increases, he noted.

    “Are you willing to set a tax rate a little bit higher or reduce personnel?” he asked.

     Reductions in state funding will have an impact on the district’s budget, he said. The district is anticipating a cut of $18,118 in SEEK (Support Education Excellence in Kentucky) money. Sanders explained SEEK funds are the primary source of income for districts across the state.

    “If it goes down, it affects everything,” Sanders said.

    The board will consider pay increases as it works to develop the budget for the next school year. A tentative spending plan will be presented in May. Final adoption of the budget occurs in September.