Pelham City Schools votes for plan to raise teacher pay

By NATHAN HOWELL | Special to the Reporter

PELHAM — The Pelham Board of Education voted on Monday, Feb. 22 to move forward with plans that will begin to raise the pay of their teachers starting with the 2021-2022 school year.

The goal of the plan is to ensure that the hard work of the teachers, especially over the past year, is taken into account and they are rewarded for their efforts.

“Our teachers are at the heart of the success of our students and our school system, and our employees are among our greatest assets,” said Pelham City Schools Board of Education President Rick Rhoades. “Our Board of Education has made recruiting and retaining great educators a priority and a commitment since our school system began.”

The school system developed a strategic plan based on salary schedules from other school districts and used this data to help close significant gaps in the compensation in their salary schedule compared to other school systems.

Pelham City Schools wanted to be able to compete with other school districts to attract the best possible talent for the betterment of students in the district.

“We’ve had situations in the past where great teachers might look at our pay and say, ‘We love Pelham and want to teach in Pelham, but the pay difference is pretty significant,” said PCS Superintendent Dr. Scott Coefield. “This latest round of teacher pay raises makes us more competitive, and we’re in a much better position to hire and retain outstanding teachers. In addition to closing the gaps, all of our teachers have benefitted from the changes and seen pay increases.”

The existing gaps between Jefferson County and Pelham teachers was somewhere between 9 and 17 percent. But with these new raises, that gap is now going to be somewhere between 1 and 5 percent.

“The Pelham Board of Education will now be allocating approximately $1.3 million dollars more per year for employee pay and benefits than they did when the system started in 2014,” Coefield said. “This includes the three locally funded pay raises (not including state raises), an employer paid life insurance policy, academic supplements, extraordinary compensation and scholarships for teachers pursuing National Board Certification.”

The 2021-2022 pay raise is the third and largest pay raise that has been implemented since the school system was formed.

“The Board is excited to take this bold step,” said Board of Education Vice President Angie Hester. “We love and appreciate our teachers, and this is a long0term commitment to show how much we value teachers in Pelham City Schools.”