Jackson County School Board approved its budget Thursday night with some of the largest teacher salary increases in 20 years.
Director of Schools Kristy Brown said that increase amounts to about $2,000 a year for certified personnel.
“We want to do all that we can to recruit teachers and retain the ones we have,” Brown said. “My hope is that we are good to our teachers because I think if we can get them here we can keep them here.”
Additionally, all faculty and staff will receive a one-time $700 retention bonus, which Brown said was made possible through funding from awards for good district practices. School staff is also set to get a raise, at about a dollar an hour which could total an additional $1,400 a year depending on hours worked. Starting bus driver salary set to increase from $70 to $75 a day and increase the cap rate from $77 to $90.
Brown said that the budget is set to see an additional $665,000 of new money in BEP funds due to enrollment increases. She said that the total fund balance for the school system has increased to more than $26 million.
Capital projects on the docket for the coming year include roof projects, a new CTE vocational school, and safe entranceways.
“We’ve been working on getting our safe entrances getting going on that we have some fire marshal approval going on right now and we hope to get that out to bid very soon,” Brown said. “We are gearing up for a new school year with safety at the top of our minds and we want to make sure we’re ready and doing everything we can in that area.”
Brown said that they did explore doing a step scale for pay, but it is currently not feasible. She said that they would look into other avenues, such as funding a step scale through equity pay.