School board approves salary schedule study

Published 12:38 pm Friday, February 3, 2017

By JOYANNA LOVE/Senior Staff Writer

The Chilton County Board of Education is considering revisions to its salary schedule to address employee concerns.

The board voted unanimously during its voting session on Feb. 2 to approve contracting with Criterion Financial Consultants to conduct a comprehensive salary schedule study. After the study is complete, the board will review and approve any changes.

Salary concerns had been discussed during the board’s work session earlier in the day. The school system has a salary schedule for each position and years of service. However, there is some confusion on whether years of service should be considered in the salary rate when an employee changes positions, such as moving from a secretary to a bookkeeper.

“I think you need a salary schedule that addresses some issues. You do need to be looking at revising your salary schedule with some narrative,” consultant Kim McPherson of Criterion Financial Consultants said.

The narrative would give instructions for how the salary schedule would be implemented, and answer some of the questions being asked.

McPherson said an attorney should be involved in the process.

She said the narrative should be detailed and specific, so there are no questions on inconsistencies later.

“How do you determine experience? How do you move from this job to that job? All these things are explained in the narrative,” McPherson said.

She recommended the board look at salary schedules from other school systems to get ideas on what they would like to include. However, she said the final document needs to be specific to meet the needs of Chilton County Schools.

“My feelings are … our payroll department cannot be the judge and jury about family medical leave, whether someone should get years of service if they change jobs, so I would certainly encourage the board to look at where we go from here,” School Superintendent Tommy Glasscock said.

Employees have asked payroll personnel whether their years of service are being counted in their new position, and are waiting for an answer.

Step pay for bus drivers and assistant teachers could also be addressed in an updated salary schedule. The rate for bus drivers starting with the system is about average when compared with similar school systems. McPherson said experienced drivers make $1.40 less than the area average because other school systems have step pay increases for bus drivers.

McPherson said adding this amount of increase could be spread out over six years. With benefits, that would cost about $18,000. These numbers would implement increases starting all of the bus drivers and assistant teachers at the same level. McPherson said taking current years of service into consideration could cost as much as $100,000.

McPherson said adjusting the salary schedule would be the best way to address this and other issues, rather than only focusing on this one group.

“If we revise our salary schedule ….  say we have some employees that are out of sync with others, no one is going to take a reduction in pay. That means we are going to increase our expenditures. We just need to keep that in mind,” board member Joe Mims said.

He said the school system did not have the tax revenue to fund many increases.

Board president Lori Patterson said the board did need look at revising the salary schedule.

Board member Linda Hand agreed revision was needed to write out rules for applying the schedule and explaining how to approve leave of absence.

Hand said she felt the prior years of service should not be counted if someone moves to a new position.

To clear up some financial coding issues, McPherson has conducted training for the school bookkeepers.

“Everyone was appreciative. Everyone just seems so happy to have their questions answered,” McPherson said.

Coding has also been implemented in the central office.

The Feb. 2 meeting was Chief School Financial Officer LaVerne Williams’ first board meeting.

Assistant CSFO Allison Ellison has resigned. Her resignation was approved by the board during the voting session, and was made effective Jan. 25. The school system is giving Williams time to decide what her needs are, rather than hiring an assistant CSFO at this time.

The board also approved resignations from a bus driver and the Chilton County High School ACCESS facilitator.

Harold Clements was approved as the new principal for Thorsby High School.