Leader Blues

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

TOP STORY > >Cabot teachers get higher starting pay

By HEATHER HARTSELL
Leader staff writer

The Cabot School Board on Friday unanimously approved giving Cabot teachers a $150 raise, bringing the district’s starting pay for new teachers with only a bachelor’s degree to $35,550.

In addition, certified staff not topped out on the salary schedule received step increases; the classified staff, including custodians, food services staff, interpreters, maintenance staff, nurses, clerical and office staff, paraprofessionals and technology staff, also received a pay increase of 10 cents an hour.

This is the second pay increase the certified and classified staff received this school
year; the first raise was around Christmas.

According to Superintendent Dr. Tony Thurman, the money for the raises came from the state.

“Our district depends on the state to supplement our foundation funding based on the amount of revenue our local tax base generates,” he said.

“The state requires that a certain percentage of this money be equally distributed to certified staff members,” he added.

The amount varies from district to district depending on how much the state assists the district with foundation funding, Thurman said; the concept is referred to as ‘trust fund’ money.

“The state doesn’t provide any additional funding for this increase above what any other district is provided, but since the state must supplement the district, the state mandates that a certain amount be provided in the form of teacher raises,” he said.

Cabot’s trust fund allocation for certified staff this year was $642, $500 was provided at Christmas and another $150 on Friday, the superintendent said.

“Due to the financial state of the district and the challenge of nondeficit spending for another year, the district is only able to provide the amount required by the state. We would like to be able to do more for teacher salaries but our focus at this point is on the long-term fiscal stability of the district,” Thurman said.

Board members were reminded that district administrators, which includes school principals and program directors, have not received a step increase this year due to the financial concerns of the district.