The board first adopted a salary schedule that was higher than the state minimum requirements in 2017, using local funding to make up the difference. It takes three years and then a renewal of a contract for a teacher to become tenured. Therefore, teachers hired in 2017 and potentially 2018 have already reached tenure and are locked into the salary schedule. Board President Pam Price said the total included some tenured teachers as well. Price said retirement and benefits also contributed to the number.
During the May 3 meeting, principals present stated that comparisons between the salary schedule and the state minimums for their non-tenured teachers did not come near to that total. The 2018-2019 fiscal year audit for the general fund shows $645,668 more was spent than revenue received for the general fund. This overspending was offset by money that had been in the fund balance leaving the school system with an end of the year fund balance of $3.4 million.
“I think we are unclear about this money,” Verbena High School Principal Tammy Hand said. “… I don’t think we understand how we came up with $1.2 million overage in teacher pay.” The current salary schedule approved by the board pays teachers more than what the school system receives in funding from the state for teacher salaries. This has created a deficient of $1.2 million.
(The classroom instructional supply had been paid twice by the state to the school system and the full amount passed on to teachers. To repay the extra portion it was not supposed to receive, funds from the general fund were used to make up the difference.) Price said she talked to Andrew Craig of the state education department Division of Administrative and Financial Services, who said the board needs to find a solution or the state will find one for them. Price said she was uncertain.
“Is the doubled amount of CIS (classroom instructional supply) money that we provided this year … included in that $1.2 million?” Thorsby High School Principal Corey Clements asked. “Because that was $600 per teacher times almost 700 teachers that is almost half a million dollars.” Jemison High School Principal Kendall Jackson asked about the possibility of a clerical error causing some of the discrepancy.
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