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School board wants pay raise for substitute teachers

March 17, 1999|By BRUCE HAMILTON

A pay raise for substitute teachers is more important than a supervisor of public information, the Washington County Board of Education decided Tuesday.

The School Board eliminated $66,827 for the supervisor's job from Schools Superintendent Herman G. Bartlett's proposed budget and replaced it with a rate increase for substitutes expected to cost $114,320.

To make up the difference, the School Board moved $51,000 from another line item for employee pensions, shrinking that figure from $70,000 to $19,000.

A state mandate requires in-kind contributions to the pensions of School Board employees who are not teachers, according to Human Resources Director Phil Ray.

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Less money is needed for the retirement system because the state rates changed, Ray said. The $70,000 included in Bartlett's budget could therefore be trimmed.

The School Board adopted its changed version of the superintendent's proposed $116 million budget Tuesday night. The changes decreased the budget's total by $3,507, according to Budget and Finance Director Chris South.

The $114,320 for increased substitute pay will mean $10 more per day for class A substitutes, $6 more per day for class B substitutes and $4 more per day for class C.

The classes are based on levels of qualification. For example, class C is a high school graduate. Short-term class A substitutes are currently paid $55 per day; if they teach more than 10 days in a school year they are paid $85 per day.

During past budget discussions, School Board members agreed the pay offered substitute teachers is too low in Washington County compared to that in neighboring districts.

Washington County's current daily rates are $10 less than those of Franklin County, Pa., $5 lower than Frederick County and $17 lower than Berkeley County, according to Ray.

School Board members first raised the issue in February, when the flu took several teachers out of the classroom and schools faced a shortage of substitutes.

On Tuesday, they agreed higher pay would help. Bartlett's proposed budget did not fund the raises, so the School Board axed the public information supervisor position and inserted the pay hike.

The budget lists items in order of priority. The substitutes raises are listed on line 20. Whether the raises are funded depends on how much money the Washington County Commissioners agree to contribute.

The School Board will hold a public hearing on its proposed budget on March 22 at 7 p.m. in the Central Office auditorium. The board may then use the public's input to revise the budget before presenting it to the County Commissioners on April 6.

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