Cape teachers, staff to get 2.66 percent raise

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Raises for teachers, although small, are becoming trends during the time school boards spend each summer analyzing annual budget proposals for upcoming school years in Cape Girardeau and Jackson school districts.

Cape Girardeau's raises result from board approval to raise base salaries of teachers and administrators. On average, salaries will rise 2.66 percent in the next school year. District officials said the raises are needed so more staff can be transferred to a newer pay schedule.

The district started a five-year plan in 2009 to raise pay, but has since had to freeze pay levels due to budget cuts several times when considering approving salary schedules for upcoming years.

The base teacher salary in the district will increase from $29,500 to $30,000. Administrators say they don't want to lose teachers to higher-paying districts. Some that are similar in size offer higher starting salaries, which pushes up a district's entire pay schedule. The average pay for Cape Girardeau teachers in 2011 was $38,632, while in Jackson it was $40,115. Statewide, teacher annual salaries in 2011 averaged to $45,312.

Other Cape Girardeau classified staff members, such as nutrition service workers, bus monitors and substitutes, will receive raises in amounts that vary by position. The board approved similar raises last year to meet goals of the plan.

Jackson has also given small raises to certified staff in recent years, and raises in the 2012-2013 school year will vary based on where staff members currently fall on the district's pay schedule. Percentage amounts will range from 1.25 percent to 1.98 percent, while some staff who obtained further educational credentials will see a 3.5 percent increase.

"We've been consistent in being able to give them a small raise each year," Wade Bartels, the district's chief financial officer, said of the raises for teachers.

Jackson's starting and average pay for teachers is also below that of some districts of similar size, but Bartels said for now he feels the district is in a good range.

"We certainly try to do what we can for our teachers every year, and we take the information we have each year to make the best decisions we can," he said.

Pay for staff makes up roughly 70 percent of the district's annual expenditures, he said.

Cape Girardeau's school board approved the district's budget for fiscal year 2013 at Monday's meeting.

Welker said the district looked to be in good financial shape for the next year. The district's unrestricted fund balance percentage for the end of the year is projected at around 12 percent. Operating balances for this year are projected to be 15 percent over operating expenditures.

"The way the budget looks this year says a lot about the fiscal responsibility of the administration," school board member Kyle McDonald said during Monday's meeting. Board members Tony Smee and Lynn Ware were not present for the votes to increase staff pay or approve the budget.

Bartels said he is still working on finalizing next year's budget for Jackson, which board members have not yet seen but will review before voting on its approval at their next meeting, set for 7 p.m. Tuesday at the district's central offices. He said he does not anticipate any major changes to the budget from 2012.

Gov. Jay Nixon signed legislation Sunday that will divide a little more than $3 billion among Missouri's public schools, yet the amount, as in years past, is still short of total needed to fully fund the state's formula. The formula is prorated at 91.5 percent.

eragan@semissourian.com

388-3627

Pertinent address:

301 N. Clark Ave., Cape Girardeau, MO

614 E. Adams St., Jackson, MO

Map of pertinent addresses

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