Central board approves new salary schedule

To comply with a new state law, the Central School Board has approved a new salary schedule that places less emphasis on an employee’s experience and education, and more on whether the job is in demand and how effective the employee is in doing that job.

Superintendent Michael Faulk told the School Board Monday that Act 1 of the 2012 regular legislative session requires the school system to publish a new salary schedule by January. It takes effect at the start of the 2013-14 school year.

“I will meet with all employee groups to go over the new proposed schedule,” Faulk said.

He said he could suggest changes, depending on the feedback he gets, and would return to the board with a final salary schedule by March.

Public schools historically have paid similar groups of employees based on experience, and to a lesser extent their certification and education levels. The Legislature, as part of Gov. Jindal’s education agenda, changed that. Now, schools will pay educators based on their effectiveness on a new employee evaluation system.

Central’s new schedule freezes salaries at their current levels. New teachers with a bachelor’s degree will still start at $40,086 a year, the starting salary in place since Central formed its own school system in 2007. Teachers with 25 years or more of experience and a Ph.D. top out at $61,642 a year.

The new schedule, however, will not include “step increases” where employees earn $640 more each year they stay with the school system.

Now, the most Central school system employees can earn is $525 a year on top of their base salary if they score well on three different factors — experience, demand and effectiveness. Each factor earns an employee at most $175.

Since jobs in Central are already in high demand, Faulk said, teachers can show they meet the demand criterion, and earn the $175, by being certified in their teaching area.

The effectiveness measure comes into play when teachers earn high ratings through the state’s new COMPASS teacher evaluation system. Faulk said he may increase the $175 a year for effectiveness in the future, especially if teachers show they are effective for two or more years.

In other action, the board unanimously reappointed James Gardner and Will Easley as board president and vice president for two more years. Both first assumed those jobs in January 2011. No one else sought the positions.

“I appreciate that vote of confidence,” Gardner said.

The board also held a final public hearing Monday on what to do with 29 acres at 11526 Sullivan Road, which for decades served as the home of Central Middle School. On Oct. 8, the board held a lengthy hearing and collected many ideas, including possibly making the property home to a new sports complex or the new town center for Central.

Gardner said the board will soon go through the list of ideas and narrow them down to ones that are affordable and make the most sense.

Faulk said that the original deed connected with the donation of a portion of the 29 acres is not as restrictive as it appeared to be.

“We have a lot more flexibility than I thought,” Faulk said.