Pelham City Schools announces pay increase for special education teachers

Published 9:24 am Tuesday, July 9, 2024

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By DONALD MOTTERN | Staff Writer

PELHAM – Pelham City Schools has officially approved pay increases for special education teachers ahead of the oncoming school year according to an announcement released on Monday, July 8.

According to the announcement, the decision to increase pay for special education teachers was one born out of a focus to both expand recruitment efforts and better retain and support current educators serving PCS.

“Special education teachers, equipped with specialized skills to teach and care for students with diverse needs, are in high demand,” read the announcement. “These measures reflect one of Pelham City Schools’ strategic commitments to employing great educators who are committed to the system’s mission to inspire and empower all students to achieve personal success.”

To ensure that PCS remains attractive in that competitive market, the PCS Board of Education has now approved an additional $2,400 annual pay increase for all special education teachers currently on staff, which will supplement the $1,200 increase recently added by the Alabama State Department of Education.

“As we work to create and maintain a positive learning culture for our students and our education, we have to remain competitive in educator salaries,” Pelham City Schools Superintendent Dr. Chuck Ledbetter said. Our board has adopted local pay raises for all teachers in recent years. As the market for special education teachers has changed, we want to keep our outstanding educators and recruit the best to join us when we have openings. These supplements are intended to accomplish those goals.”

This increase will be coupled with the establishment of a new position at each of Pelham’s schools—the individualized education plan specialist.

An individualized education plan is a plan or program developed to ensure that a child with an identified disability—who is attending an elementary or secondary educational institution—receives specialized instruction and related services.

At PCS, each IEP specialist will be selected from the existing special education staff at each school and will help guide the IEP processes put in place. In that capacity, Pelham’s IEP specialists will work to assist teachers and administrators in the creation, monitoring and evaluation of IEP plans for students.

Each IEP specialist will receive an additional stipend of $5,000 per year for these services.

“We are incredibly thankful to the board of education for recognizing the importance of differentiating our pay structure and providing additional support through the newly created IEP Specialist position,” said Lana Tew, director of special education for Pelham City Schools. “We hope that these new incentives will demonstrate the value we place on the dedication and hard work of our special education teachers.”