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Board approves tentative new salary schedule

By Staff, 03/27/19 9:49 AM

PRESCOTT – Most of March’s meeting of the Prescott School Board concerned the discussion of the new required salary schedule.

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson has signed a bill into law requiring all school districts in the state to start teacher salaries at $36,000 annually. Districts will have four years to get in compliance, with the state reportedly helping during this period. However, once the four years ends, it will be up to the individual districts to continue meeting the salary requirements on their own.

The Prescott School Board, Tuesday evening, approved sending a proposed salary schedule to the district’s Personnel Policy Committee where it, like the school calendar, must be approved. In a nutshell, teacher salaries will be raised incrementally over the next four years to the base. However, this isn’t the only problem, as step increases must also be taken into consideration. The proposed amounts are $450 per year for those with bachelor degrees and $500 for those with a master’s, all based on years of service to the district.

Judy Clampit, district treasurer, said the proposals reflect this with the idea to keep the salary schedule flowing. Superintendent Robert Poole said this plan is more levelized for starting teachers to experienced teachers and is more fair than it has been in the past.

According to Clampit, these changes are for teachers only, administrators will not be included. The first thing for the district to do, she said, is to make sure Prescott is first at the door to apply for any available funding from the state.

Poole said to maintain the new increases cuts will have to be made and the district won’t have as many full-time employees as before. “We’re looking at needing an extra $500,000 to get to the goal. The state is supposed to help the next four years, but there’ll be nothing after that. We’ve been told the legislature is working to fix the inadequacies, but cutting staff is the only way we can do it.”

Clampit proposed classified staff be bumped to $11 an hour, adding few aren’t meeting this already.

“This is a setback,” said board member Reed Koger. “With these new increases and the increase in minimum wage.”

Poole said Prescott isn’t the only district in the area that will be affected. In fact, he pointed out only Nashville and Texarkana are already at or above the state minimum, but all other districts in the region will have to make changes to adapt.

In other business, Poole said the student population dropped to 956 for February. There were 349 enrolled in Prescott Elementary School, 320 in Prescott Junior High and 287 in Prescott High School. Seven left from the junior high, with two each from PES and PHS.

Clampit provided the district’s financial report, basically letting the board know the district is in good shape heading toward the end of the year. The district, she said, has been reimbursed $188,000 for the PHS roofing project, with more funds expected to come in. The budget, she added, looks good heading into June when no state monies will be received.