Cassville teachers to get raises in coming year

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

$500 added to base pay; custodial, maintenance staff get bump

Teachers in the Cassville school district will have more money in their pockets in the 2016-2017 school year, as the district recently approved a raise of its base pay.

According to Superintendent Richard Asbill, the base pay has been raised by $500, affecting all teachers on the certified salary schedule. Furthermore, teachers entering their seventh year at the district moved from a $750 raise to a $1,000 raise; a $450 raise was given to teachers with a masters and eight years of experience, as well as 27, 28, 29 or 30 years with the district; and finally, teachers with more than 31 years of experience will now receive an extra $450 each year.

Each teacher in the district receives a $450 raise annually, so adding in the base pay hike, all teachers in the district will receive a minimum of $950 more in the coming school year.

"The district usually tries to evaluate a $250 to $500 raise to the base each year, depending on our funding level and discussions with the salary and welfare committee," Asbill said. "The committee is made up of nine teachers; two board of education members, Becky Henningson and Carolyn Bowen; and myself.

"The Cassville Community Teachers Association does surveys throughout the year, and we begin meeting in April to go over common priorities."

Asbill said the goal in raising the base pay, and adding the other steps in the schedule, is to be able to recruit and retain qualified teachers in the district. Those who stay with the district get $1,000 raises instead of just $450 on years 7, 12, 17, 22 and 27. And teachers who have experience in other districts may bring in 15 of those years when starting out at Cassville.

"We want our teachers to have some longevity options," Asbill said. "And, even though teachers with more than 15 years of experience who come to Cassville may lose a couple of those years, our base and overall salary schedule is more competitive, so they are usually still getting a raise."

The district has also given a raise of 25 cents per hour to its custodial and maintenance staffs, aiming to keep qualified employees with the district.

Some extra-duty benefits changed, as well. As a performance incentive, the instrumental and vocal music directors each saw their extra duty stipends raised from 18 percent of their salaries to 22 percent.

"This was for performance reasons, like for how well our kids have done in programs and competitions," Asbill said. "They are getting a lot of recognition."

An early morning duty stipend of 9 percent was added to pay those who supervise children who arrive to school before 7:40 a.m. An A+ stipend of 8 percent was also added, as with the retirement of former part-time A+ sponsor Tyne Rabourn, one of the full-time high school counselors will assume those duties.

Asbill said he is pleased with the changes made this year, and looking forward, there are a couple of things on the district's radar for next summer.

"We had two last year and three the year before who have asked about a sick leave pool, which we do not currently offer," he said. This would be for teachers who wish to volunteer their sick days to a pool, then another teacher who has run out may apply to the pool for more. It's a colleague-to-colleague gesture of good will to help those who have health conditions or accidents."

For the first five years with Cassville, teachers receive 10 sick days per year, then after five years, they receive 15 per year. Those days can accumulate each year up to a cap of 90, and upon retirement, a teacher may receive a percentage of pay from unused sick days. Asbill said if a sick days pool were to happen, it would be ruled over by a committee of solely teachers, who would rule on applications to use days from the pool.

"We've also discussed personal leave," Asbill said. "Right now, certified teachers get three personal days, and classified personnel get two. We are looking at using an additional personal day in place of one of the sick days."

The base salary at Cassville schools is now $35,750. The most a teacher can make, excluding $450 raises each year after 31 years, is for a teacher to have a doctorate and 31 years of experience, for which the salary is $61,150. In between those figures, all teachers receive annual raises, and teachers may also receive raises for each eight hours of credit toward an advanced degree.

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