Assistant teachers seek step pay increase

Published 12:43 pm Wednesday, November 16, 2016

By JOYANNA LOVE/Senior Staff Writer

CLANTON — Paraprofessional teachers asked for a step pay increase during Tuesday’s Chilton County Board of Education meeting.

Representatives said the assistant teachers and bus drivers have not received a step pay increase even when other support staff have. Steps in the step pay plan are based on years of service. If a step pay increase is funded, those qualifying to move up a step on the pay scale receive the increase. Different positions are funded at different times. Step increases for some positions are funded by the state. Step increases for assistant teachers, bus aides and bus drivers would be funded locally if implemented.

Superintendent Tommy Glasscock said the school system has “had some pretty major issues in our finance department” since last month when he spoke with some of the assistant teachers.

“I just ask that you would be patient … I will tell you it is very important to me and in talking to these board members it is very important to this board,” Glasscock said.

The system’s financial officer is on administrative medical related leave, according to Glasscock

“We have a group here now that is reconciling our 2016-2017 year,” Glascock said.

The consulting firm will help the school system close out the financials for the year.

Glasscock explained the firm had asked that the school system wait to make any major changes until after the review is complete.

“What I think is pathetic is as long as all of us have worked in this county, and you’re talking most of us over 20 years … that we can’t get a step up raise, that we can’t get what’s due to us,” Joshlynn Allen, paraprofessional teacher at Thorsby High School, said.

Because of rising healthcare costs, some assistant teachers and bus drivers are making less than they did in previous years.

“I’m making less now then I did 15 years ago,” Allen said.

She suggested the school system use the interest on reserve funds in order to fund the step increase.

“We are expected to be very qualified, which I have done. We are expected to be very professional,” Cindy Foshee, paraprofessional teacher, said. ‘Those of us who have been there a long time know on those rough days what to do to keep the school operating no matter what.”

She said this wealth of experience should receive higher compensation.

The topic became a point of interest for the assistant teachers and bus drivers this year when they found out other support staff had received a step pay increase, but they did not.

Glasscock mentioned all employees, including assistant teachers, bus aides and bus drivers, received a four percent increase in pay this year. The raise was effective Oct. 1.

Allison King of the Alabama Education Association was also present to speak on the issue.

“I think you (Glasscock) have a good heart in trying to work towards a solution for them. I think the board has a good intent in trying to work with them, but at the end of the day we have to look at fairness and equality where you have two classifications of people that are being treated differently then the other classifications of people you are employing,” King said.