District One board OKs teacher raises
Longtime teachers in the Yuma Elementary District One will see an 11 percent pay increase in the 2018-2019 school year.
District administrators presented the employee compensation plan at the governing board’s monthly business meeting Monday evening.
Teachers with 10 or more years of experience will see an 11 percent increase in their base pay, said Human Resources Director Luciano Munoz, bringing the average teacher salary in the district to $40,604. The figure does not include Proposition 301 funds or clubs/ activities/sports stipends. Including those income sources would put the average teacher salary at $46,804, according to figures provided by the district. Board President Karen Griffin asked if that was what the district would be offering as a starting salary to new teachers.
“No, this is the average teacher salary when you put all of our teachers together,” Munoz said.
The reason the administration put an emphasis on the average teacher salary is that new legislation requires it to be posted on districts’ web sites, said Associate Superintendent Duane Sheppard.
Munoz also noted that during the RedForEd movement an Arizona Republic article which was widely circulated misstated the district’s average teacher salary.
“(Media) used a different number that was not accurate,” he said, noting that the correct figure is
about $2,000 higher than the $34,730 cited by the Republic from the Auditor General’s Annual Report.
Teachers with 1 to 3 years of experience will get 10 percent, while those with 4 to 9 years will see a 10.5 percent increase. Those with 10 years or more would get 11 percent.
Certificated employees make up 61 percent of the 1,077 employees in the district, with support staff making up 30 percent, and “others” comprising the remaining 9 percent.
Certificated employees eligible for the 10 to 11 percent raise include: Classroom teachers, interventionists, migrant advocates, counselors, instructional coaches and certified coordinators.
Classified employees will receive a flat $1 an hour raise, with the exception of those slated to get an additional .50 cents on Jan. 1 due to the mandated increases in the state minimum wage.
The remaining 9 percent of employees, which includes physical, occupational and speech therapists; psychologist; COTAs; therapist assistants; administrators; supervisors; and registered nurses, would see graduated raises of 5 percent to 6 percent based on longevity.
The cost of the increases for all employees amounts to $3,207,840, according to Chief Financial Officer Denis Ponder.
He explained that the district is slated to receive $2,297,683 from the base level funding (with a student count of 10,915.35); $720,413 in inflation funds; and $1,036,959 in district additional assistance.
“That’s a nice chunk of money that’s going to come in from those three different areas to kind of help cover the cost of the raises and then supply some muchneeded capital funding for us,” Ponder said.
Raises for staff was one of the district’s priorities, Ponder said, even in the face of an overall budget that is increasing just about 8 percent.
“We made an effort to spend, as much as we could, the raise and inflation money on raises for our staff,” he said.
Munoz said the district wanted to differentiate between its longtime employees and those just starting out.
“We really want to make sure that those employees who’ve been with us longer … that it shows in their compensation… especially when they’ve been working with our district through the years that we’ve been frozen,” he said. “We really want to show that separation between those long term employees and those just joining our district.”
The district will also absorb a 7 percent increase in health premiums for employees on the high deductible plan, Ponder said during his presentation on the 18-19 budget.
Ponder noted that the district does not anticipate raising property tax rates, but may as the budget gets a more intense look over the coming days. The budget presented Monday night is a “working document,” he said.
The district saw a large increase in school plant fund monies, mainly due to an auction of surplus materials, Ponder said. Those funds could be used to pay down the district’s debt, or be given back to the taxpayer in the form or a lower rate, he said.
Griffin asked if the property tax rate would be a “one time break” or recur yearly. Ponder noted that it would be a one-time reduction in the rate.
The budget had an increase in classroom site funds, a decrease in Indian gaming dollars and another $9 million slated for bond building, as the district is set to begin work on the new Dorothy Hall Elementary School.
Board members also approved two new employees: Elizabeth Valenzuela as the new chief financial officer and former board member Jamie Walden as the new director of budget and finance.
The Prop 301 plan for 18-19 was also approved by the board, with almost 97 percent of respondents supporting the plan, Sheppard said.
The board also approved granting performance pay to Superintendent Jamie Sheldahl who was absent.
The board’s next meeting is at 8 a.m. June 28 in the district board room.