Similar increase in benefits
he Park Hill School Board has approved an average 2.4 percent increase in compensation and a 2.5 percent increase in benefits for teachers and support staff for the upcoming school year.
A seven-member committee, comprised of teachers and administrators, spent five months laying out a one-year agreeable teacher compensation package that gives all groups a 2.4 percent increase in salary and a 2.5 percent increase in benefits.
When it comes to compensating teachers, multiple factors come into play. Each educator’s base salary varies depending on their level of education and teaching experience. The district also compensates teachers for any years of experience they acquired at another district.
For most public school districts, paying school teachers and support staff accounts for the district’s largest expense.
According to the preliminary budget, the district expects to spend $101,112,098 on salaries during the 2020-2021 school year. That’s the most the district has ever spent. According to the school calendar, teachers will work 261 days next year.
“This year we centered only on economic interest,” said administrator Dr. Bill Redinger. “The average raise across all groups that results from this was 2.4 percent in salary and 2.5 in benefits. Just as a reminder, our tradition here at Park Hill has been that teacher negotiations have set the mark for compensation for all groups,”
“We don’t know what the future holds,” added Superintendent Cowherd. “We also appreciate that this is just a one-year contract, because we don’t know what the economics looks like in the future.”
Salary expenditures are projected to increase from $98.3 million in 2019-2020, to $101.1 million in 2020-2021. For comparison, during the 2011-2012 salary expenditures were about $70 million. That is an increase of approximately $31 million.
Employee salaries make up about 43 percent of the annual total budget, and about 55 percent of the annual operating budget, states Park Hill documents. Employee benefits comprise about 12 percent of the annual total budget.
Park Hill’s decision on raises came a few days in advance of Missouri Gov. Mike Parson announcing cutting over $131 million from the state’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (K-12) budget due to COVID-19.
“I have always been a strong supporter of education, and these were extremely difficult decisions I never thought I would have to make,” Parson said. “As difficult as these decisions are, we are experiencing an unprecedented economic downturn, which means we are having to make unprecedented adjustments in our budget.”
“It is important to make these decisions now so school districts can adjust before next school year,” Parson continued. “Our intent is to withhold now and avoid withholds once school begins.”
The governor added:
“It goes without saying that COVID-19 has had severe impacts on our anticipated economic growth. This is truly unlike anything we have ever experienced before, and we are now expecting significant revenue declines.”