Cape school board to consider salary plan

Saturday, May 13, 2006

The starting salary for new teachers in the Cape Girardeau School District would increase to $25,253 in the next school year under a salary plan proposed by superintendent Dr. David Scala.

The plan would boost starting pay by 3.1 percent or $753, he said. Other salary steps would increase too.

The district's nonteaching staff and administrators also would receive base pay raises of 3.1 percent. "We felt that was equitable," Scala said Friday.

Scala's salary is separate from all the rest. Under the contract he signed last year upon being hired as superintendent, his salary will increase by 2 percent for the 2006-2007 school year.

The superintendent's salary will climb to more than $135,000, a $2,650 pay raise.

Cape Girardeau's board of education will consider approving salary schedules for teachers, staff and administrators at its meeting Monday night. The board will meet at 6 p.m. at the board office at 301 N. Clark Ave.

With returning teachers moving up on the salary schedule, the average pay raise for teachers would be more than 4 percent, Scala said.

Someone at the top of the salary schedule -- an individual who has worked in the district 27 years and has a master's degree and 30 credit hours of courses toward a doctorate -- would receive slightly more than $50,000 or about a $1,500 raise, school officials said.

"We tried to be fair and do as much as could," Scala said.

Still, he said, the district's base pay is lower than many other districts. The average starting salary for teachers in Missouri is $29,000, Scala said.

'This is a beginning'

School officials would like to raise the local district's starting salary over the next three to five years to get it up to the state average.

"I think this is a beginning," he said of the salary plan. "You can't do it all in one year. We just can't give as much as everybody wants."

But the district has higher salaries for experienced teachers than some other school systems in Southeast Missouri, officials said.

Finance director Brenda McCowan said some districts in the region don't have salary step increases beyond the first eight years.

"They usually limit you to five or eight years of experience," she said. "We don't."

If the board approves the salary plan for the district's 346 teachers, the average teaching salary will total more than $36,600 next year.

The district has more than 700 full- and part-time employees in all, counting teachers, staff and administrators.

The pay raises will increase the district's personnel expenses by nearly $1 million, Scala said.

mbliss@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 123

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