Pelham BOE approves pay raises for teachers

PELHAM – A pay raise is on the horizon for Pelham City Schools’ teachers as a new teacher salary schedule was approved by the Pelham Board of Education at a meeting on Monday, May 21.

Superintendent Dr. Scott Coefield said the pay raises will go into effect for the 2018-2019 school year. The new teacher salary schedule comes four years after the formation of Pelham City Schools. Coefield said the system has been using the pay schedule it inherited from Shelby County Schools and supplementing that by providing teachers with a $500 extraordinary compensation check each year.

“We’ve been studying the most effective way to improve teacher compensation for about two years,” Coefield said. “That research included having teacher and community meetings.”

The new salary establishes the state of Alabama’s minimum salary schedule as the base pay, which means teachers automatically received a 2.5 percent raise. In March Gov. Kay Ivey signed into law a bill that gives all public education employees, including support staff, administrators and superintendents, a 2.5 percent raise effective Oct. 1.

“What we’re doing is authorizing additional pay above the state matrix based on the teacher’s total years of service,” Coefield said. “For example, beginning teachers will make $500 more than the state matrix and the most experienced teachers will make $2,000 more than the state matrix.”

So instead of just the 2.5 percent state raise, PCS teachers will see raises in the range of 3.4 percent to 3.9 percent.

PCS teachers are now at the top of the pay scale for schools systems located strictly in Shelby County.

The school system is also adding academic supplements for teachers in leadership roles, like those who mentor newer teachers, teacher leaders, coordinators and program specialists. Coefield said he anticipates that about 20 percent of the PCS staff may receive some type of academic supplement.

“This is just to encourage our good, seasoned teachers to put in the time to train with our younger, newer teachers,” he said.

This doesn’t mean that the board is doing away with the extraordinary compensation checks given each year. Coefield said the system will continue to this practice because it’s helps maintain high morale among school employees. The board will also continue providing a life insurance policy equal to the salary of the staff member.

The board is still contemplating if it will provide scholarships for teachers seeking to submit applications for National Board Certification and if it will enact attendance policies or incentives.

But Coefield said this doesn’t mark the end for teacher pay raises.

“We will continue to study common sense, responsible ways to recruit and retain the very best teachers,” he said.

“We’ve talked about raises since the school district was first started, but we knew we had to get our facilities to a point where they can properly serve our students,” said board president Rick Rhoades. “This is a good start, but it’s not the end.”

Board member Paul Howell said it was important for the board to wait until the district had a well-established foundation before proceeding with raises.

The salary schedules for support staff and administrators were updated about two years ago. Coefield said restructuring teacher pay was the final piece of the puzzle.