Pelham BOE approves second teacher pay raise in two years

PELHAM – A local pay raise for Pelham City Schools teachers will be implemented in the 2019-2020 school year. The measure was approved by the Pelham Board of Education at a meeting on Monday, Feb. 25.

This new pay increase represents the second locally funded salary increase for teachers since the school system was founded in 2014. The first was approved for the 2018-2019 school year.

The newly approved pay raise was developed as another strategy to remain highly competitive in Shelby County and implements pay scales that are more closely comparable to high performing systems in Jefferson County. Rather than an “across the board” increase, the new pay raise includes a flat rate increase of $250 for teachers with 0-14 years of experience. For those 15-23 years in, the increases range from 2 percent to 6 percent.

Teachers with 24-plus years may also see slight increases in pay, but the salary schedules are closer to competitors in those years so the change is not significant.

“Recruiting and retaining great educators has been an ongoing focus of our efforts since we began our school system in 2014,” said PCS Superintendent Dr. Scott Coefield. “We’ve taken a methodical, multifaceted approach to positively impact teacher compensation.

“While we value every teacher equally, this strategic and methodical approach to raising teacher pay will help target the largest gaps in the salaries of our mid-career teachers compared to those in high performing systems in Jefferson County. As we close the gap on the largest pay differences, our whole salary schedule will become more competitive.”

Another new initiative that was approved by the board is a scholarship program for teachers who are interested in the National Board Certification (NBCT) process. Scholarships are valued at $2,000 each. The scholarships will be awarded to up to 20 qualified teachers per school year. Once the NBCT process is successfully completed and teachers have obtained certification, they are eligible for a $5,000 increase in annual pay, which would be funded by the state.

The latest locally funded pay raise and NBCT scholarships are the fifth and sixth initiatives implemented by the Pelham Board of Education to increase teacher compensation since 2014. PCS teachers with a bachelor’s and master’s degree have received an average annual salary increase of $1,981 compared to the salary schedule that was inherited from Shelby County in 2014.

“Our teachers are the heart of the success of our students and our school system,” Coefield said. “Since our employees are among our greatest assets, our board of education is intent and focused on recruiting, retaining and investing in our teachers. Including all six initiatives, Pelham City Schools’ locally funded investment to retain and recruit great educators is over $654,000 per year.”

Other initiatives implemented by the board of education have included:

-Employer paid life insurance policy (implemented in 2014): The amount is equal to the employee’s annual salary.

-Extraordinary compensation (implemented in 2015): $500 for certified staff, $250 for support staff.

-Academic supplements for teacher leaders (implemented in 2018): For teachers who fill instructional support and other academic leadership roles within the schools.

-First locally funded pay raise (implemented in 2018): Revised salary schedules included pay raises for all teachers.