Arlington Citizen-Journal

February 10, 2014

Arlington school district revising salary structure for nonteachers

Trustees will hear recommendations soon based on a market study.

After increasing starting teacher salaries to $50,000 this academic year, Arlington school trustees are set to hear recommendations for salary adjustments for other campus professionals, including assistant principals, counselors and nurses.

Trustees are now working to provide pay increases for those who make below the recommended minimum pay rate, something that could affect more than 3,700 employees.

Administrative, administrative support, technology, educational aides and manual trade employees could receive $2,862,868 worth of annual pay increases, which is 0.8 percent of the district’s operating budget.

Ten years have gone by since the district conducted its last salary market study to ensure competitiveness. When the board approved teacher pay increases in June, it decided to hold off on increasing the pay for employees such as nurses, principals and counselors until a new study could be conducted, board President Bowie Hogg said.

The Texas Association of School Boards was contracted to conduct the study, and its results show that the district’s pay for teachers with master’s degrees has surpassed that of counselors, who are required to have a master’s degree.

They should make at least the same amount as teachers, Hogg said.

“Right now there seems to be a mystery on how salaries are calculated,” Ann Patton, senior compensation consultant with the state association, told trustees at a recent board meeting.

Patton said the procedures for calculating offers to new hires, pay for promotions and other actions need to be reviewed.

Patton also said candidates are rejecting job offers because of salary.

All Arlington school district employees received a 3 percent salary increase for 2013-14. Besides increasing the starting teacher pay to $50,000, trustees gave equity adjustments to teachers with one to 20 years of experience.

Nurses are paid on the teacher salary schedule, and the current counselor salary schedule is tied to the teacher schedule, district spokeswoman Leslie Johnston said. As a result, they received the same equity adjustments that teachers received, she said.

Administrators will present their suggestions to the board for a final vote. The earliest that will happen is at the board’s Feb. 20 work session, Hogg said.

Cindy Powell, the district’s chief financial officer, and Scott Kahl, the head of human resources, will determine what the salary ranges should be.

Hogg said the pay increase would come out of the district’s $468 million general budget.

The district is also considering implementing a pay range for newly hired teachers, registered nurses and librarians.

For instance, beginning pay for teachers is $50,000 for 10 months, but that should not hold true for all employees, Hogg said. Because some applicants have integral experience outside the classroom, they should be paid more.

This will allow hiring flexibility for employees who come in with valuable experience that isn’t necessarily in the teaching realm, he said.

Arlington ranks second in competitive pay for its teachers, along with Irving. The Hurst-Euless-Bedford district has the highest beginning and average salary at $51,220 and $55, 976, respectively.

“We are building all of this up so we can eventually have a performance pay model in the district,” Hogg said. “Performance pay is one of the pieces of our strategic plan we hope to achieve. We are not hiding that from anyone.”

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