County’s budget raises supplements for principals, assistant principals, teachers
By Josh Bergeron
SALISBURY — Rowan County’s proposed budget for the 2017-2018 fiscal year raises pay supplements significantly for principals and assistant principals in local schools.
Local supplements for principals and assistant principals in the Rowan-Salisbury School System would rise above averages identified in a recent pay study if the Rowan County Board of Commissioners leaves education funding unchanged in the proposed 2017-2018 budget. The county plans to raise teacher pay above the average by the 2018-2019 fiscal year, according to County Manager Aaron Church. July 1 is the first day of the coming fiscal year.
Among all staff, Rowan County’s budget proposes the largest supplement increases for principals and four HVAC employees. Assistant principals and teachers would see supplement increases, too. The supplements would be in addition to any teacher pay raises approved by the state legislature.
“They have a three-year goal of getting up to the average supplement, and we’re on time,” county commissioners Chairman Greg Edds said about the pay increases.
Edds added that future economic growth in the county could facilitate increased funding for to the Rowan-Salisbury School System.
Superintendent Lynn Moody said a large bump is proposed in principal supplements because a wider gap exists between averages in the pay study and local principals. Like teachers, there’s turnover among principals, too, Moody said.
“It’s just not very popular to give raises to administrators,” she said.
The pay study, presented in December, states $7,580 per year is the average supplement for principals in the Rowan-Salisbury School System. The average among all school systems surveyed in the study was $11,204. Rowan County’s budget would increase local supplements by an average of $3,911.
With the proposed increase, principals in the Rowan-Salisbury School System would be paid an average supplement of $11,500 per year, according to figures provided by Church.
Meanwhile, assistant principals would see an average supplement increase of $995 per year if the county’s budget gets approved as proposed. The current, average supplement in the Rowan-Salisbury School System is $3,705. The pay study average is $4,664.
With the proposed increase, assistant principals in the Rowan-Salisbury School System would be paid an average supplement of $4,700 per year, according to figures provided by Church.
Moody said leadership in the school system is “critically important.” Administrators such as principals and assistant principals understand curriculum and can help teachers and parents personalize learning, she said.
Teachers are not left out of the county’s proposed increases, but the amount is smaller than other positions.
Rowan County’s budget proposes to raise supplements for 1,500 teachers by an average of $175 per year. The proposed increase would raise teacher supplements to an average of $2,442 per year, which is $440 less than the pay study’s average.
Church said the 2017-2018 budget would be the second in a three-year plan for supplement increases. Church’s budget summary states that an increase in the 2018-2019 fiscal year would raise teacher supplements to the pay study’s average.
In its proposed 2017-2018 budget, the county allocates roughly $550,000 for all pay supplement increases.
Asked about the various increases, school board Chairman Josh Wagner said he believes local supplements are only one of a number of items that can alleviate teacher shortages. However, he said it’s important to make sure teacher pay is competitive.
It’s not possible, Moody said, to compete with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, which is several times larger than the Rowan-Salisbury School System. She said there are other benefits to the Rowan-Salisbury system. She mentioned living in a rural setting and quality of life as examples.
Asked about future increases, Wagner said he believes the school board should recognize where it stands as a district and compensate teachers fairly. The school system can’t ask for local supplement increases every year, he said.
A final decision about this year’s increases will likely come on June 5, when the Rowan County Board of Commissioners is scheduled to hold a work session and public hearing.
County commissioners will hold a work session at 1 p.m. on June 5 to discuss budget matters. Then, at 6 p.m., commissioners will hold a public hearing and potentially approve the budget. Both will be held in the county administration building — 130 West Innes St.
Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246.