By CRISTINA JANNEY
The Hays USD 489 school board approved raises for teachers, administrators and classified staff at its meeting on Monday.
However, not everyone received the same amount.
The board approved the teachers’ contract, which was ratified on Nov. 14. That contract included a 3.7 percent raise, a $200 one-time payment for insurance and vertical and horizontal movement on the pay scale. The raises will be retroactive to the beginning of the fiscal year in June.
The board approved a 4.6 percent raise for classified staff and 3.7 percent raise for administration.
The administration and classified received a 4.6 percent pay increase in error in June. On Nov. 1, the board stopped that raise, but agreed the staff would not have to pay back the salary increase that was paid in error.
The board in the past has given administration and classified staff the same percent raise as it has negotiated with teachers. However, the Hays NEA can’t legally negotiate on the behalf of other staff.
Board member Greg Schwartz made a motion to increase pay for classified and administrative staff by 3.7 percent. That failed on a vote of 5 to 1. Board member Lance Bickle was absent.
Luke Oborny proposed increasing classified staff by 4.6 percent and increasing administrative staff by 3.7 percent.
A wage comparison that was included in the board packet indicated some of the classified staff are being paid less than comparable positions in Ellis County.
The district budgeted a 4.6 percent increase for all staff. The difference between a 4.6 and 3.7 percent raise for the classified staff would be $20,000 total. Board member Paul Adams said the difference in hourly rate for classified staff on a 4.6 percent raise would be between 9 and 23 cents.
Although that might not seem much to the board, he said he that might mean something to the staff members.
Board member Sophia Rose Young said she could not live on the amount some of the classified staff are being paid.
Schwartz said, “Where are you going to draw the line? $50,000?”
Schwartz voted against the split raises. He said the pay system needs to be evaluated, but the board needs the facts before making any significant changes in the pay scale.
However, he and other board members agreed a committee needs to be formed to review staff pay.
Board member Mike Walker said it would be very bad for morale if the board took action Monday and then did nothing to evaluate and revise staff pay. Superintendent John Thissen said he would work to form a committee to bring back recommendations to the board.
District custodians had already negotiated a 4.6 percent pay raise. This is the last year the district will negotiate with the custodian’s union, SEIU. The board also already approved a $2 per hour raise for paraprofessionals. The move was aimed at reducing turnover among special education staff.
Chris Hipp, special education director, told the board Monday the coop has had a 4 percent reduction in open positions since the raise was instituted in August.
The board also approved the contracts for the Oak Park Medical Plaza. The property will be renovated for use by Early Childhood Connections. See a complete story on Tuesday.