Elizabeth Schools employees will get a pay rise

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Staff report

Last month, the Elizabeth School Board increased pay for all district employees based on a confluence of factors, according to an announcement from the Elizabeth School District States.

Annual salaries for licensed educators for the 2022-2023 school year are expected to increase by an average of 6.97%, including increases for experience, according to a news release.

Teachers‘ base salary under the new scale will be $37,502, up from $30,000 in 2018. Classified staff – which includes bus drivers, maintenance workers, maintenance staff and managers of office – will receive an average increase of 7.83%.

The salary of paraprofessionals has increased by an average of 10%, because these positions are “incredibly difficult to fill”, according to Superintendent Douglas Bissonette. Extra duty pay for coaches was increased by 12% and administrators received a 5% increase.

At the May 23 school board meeting, Bissonette said the district is seeing an unusually low number of applicants applying for positions to teach next school year — a concern for school districts across the state. He noted that the board’s 5-0 approval of pay scales at the May 9 meeting helps recruitment and retention in a rural district that must compete with larger, neighboring districts.

Also among the district’s changes were adjustments to its classified salary grids. Rather than a single schedule for all classified personnel, separate schedules have been developed for several occupational groups, including transportation, early childhood, facility and grounds maintenance, catering, IT, paraprofessionals and school and district office staff. This will allow the district greater flexibility in each classification to be competitive with other districts.

The district is able to fund these ongoing increases due to three main factors:

• Increased enrollment in Elizabeth Schools, which provides additional funding based on the number of students served.

• Approval by the State Legislature of an increase in per-pupil funding in the School Finance Act.

• A significant decrease in the budget stabilization factor, which translates into increased funding for school districts.

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