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School district officials announced last week that — despite their preliminary budget — teachers will be getting a raise in the fall.
Superintendent Will Wells, who began his new position July 1, listed teacher compensation as a top priority during the superintendent hiring process.
Now, district officials have decided to dip into a contingency fund to offer an additional .5 percent raise.
That half-percent raise will be on top of a state-mandated 1.6 percent annual step raise that is awarded for each year of teaching experience.
Last year, teachers received an additional 1.15 percent raise with their step raise.
Despite the district’s reputation for quality education, teachers in Oldham County are paid less than their Jefferson County colleagues.
Teacher salaries are based on experience and education level.
A first-year teacher with a bachelor’s degree earns $35,154 in Oldham County — compared to $40,117.58 in Jefferson County.
Teachers can obtain Rank 1 status by completing 60 semester hours of approved graduate credit, including a master’s degree.
Doing so increases an Oldham County teacher’s salary by about 20 percent, with the salary depending on the teacher’s step level, or years of experience.
That percentage is about equal to Jefferson County’s pay schedule, but higher base salaries keep those teachers ahead in pay.
Compare two Rank 1 teachers, both with 10 years of experience: $54,133 in Oldham County and $62,913 in Jefferson County.
The district will spend about $325,000 on the additional half-percent raises.
School officials face budget challenges after a cut in per-student state funding announced in May.
The Support Education Excellence in Kentucky program provides most of the funding for public schools across the state and has suffered significant cuts in the past four years.
The Kentucky Education Action Team, a coalition group, estimates SEEK base funding has fallen $450 from the 2007-08 school year to 2011-12 when adjusted for inflation.
The base funding will fall another $70 per student for the 2012-13 school year, down to $3,833 per student for the school year.
With decreasing state funding and flat local tax revenues, school board members have mentioned the possibility of a tax increase.