LINCOLN -- Lincoln School Board last week approved a $2,000 raise to the base pay for its teacher salary schedule and a 2% raise to the base pay for classified staff.
The board also approved a recommendation from Superintendent Mary Ann Spears to slightly increase the multiplier for the administrative salary index "to give them a little bit of love as well."
All increases are effective July 1 for the 2021-22 school year.
The base pay for a beginning teacher with a bachelor's degree will increase from $36,000 to $38,000. The pay for a teacher with 10 years of experience will increase from $40,500 to $42,500 and the pay for a teacher with 20 years of experience will go up $2,000 to $47,000.
The salary for a beginning teacher with a master's degree will increase from $39,000 to $41,000.
According to the certified salary schedule, teachers with a bachelor's degree receive an additional $450 for each year of experience, and teachers with a master's degree receive an additional $500 each year for experience.
Administrative salaries are based on the licensed salary schedule, contracted days and the multiplier. For the 2021-22 school year, the multiplier will range from 1.15% to 1.30%, depending on the position. For example, the elementary principal's position and the middle school principal's position will have a 1.25% multiplier next year.
"This will hopefully get us a little bit more competitive," Spears told the school board on April 19.
Spears said she already was working on teacher raises last year when Gov. Asa Hutchinson made his proposal to raise the average teacher salary in Arkansas by $2,000 over the next two years to reach a target average salary of $51,288. Lincoln is close to the average, around $48,000 to $49,000, Spears said.
Lincoln has lost 300 students in the past six years and now has about 1,000 students enrolled in the district, Spears said. At the same time, she said the district has been "lucky" in that it has not had to lay off any staff but as teachers and other staff have resigned or retired, the district has absorbed those positions by moving staff around.
She said she feels "very comfortable" financially recommending the raises for certified and classified staff. In addition to the school's projected revenue, she said Lincoln also will receive new money from the state to help with the raises. The Arkansas Department of Education has said it will develop a new funding category to help districts increase their average teacher pay. Spears said Lincoln will receive $185 per student, or $185,000, from this account.
In other news, Spears reported that Lincoln Consolidated School District will receive $2.7 million from the latest round of federal covid-relief funds.
"That's quite a chunk of money," Spears said. "We are definitely going to do some things for the district and use it wisely."
Spears said 20% of the covid-relief money must be dedicated to helping students who have had a "learning loss" this year because of covid-19. She said the district plans to sponsor "learning camps" this summer and these will be by special invitation. Schools will have to follow social distancing at the summer sessions for safety reasons.
Other uses for the money may include replacing HVAC systems and purchasing or leasing new school buses, Spears said.
In all, Spears said Lincoln has received $4.2 million from the three covid-relief packages approved by U.S. Congress since the pandemic started in March 2020.
The district's operating funds are in good shape, primarily because of covid-19 relief funds, Spears told board members. This money is allowing the district to use its other revenue for projects such as new playground equipment and a greenhouse for the agriculture department.
In other action, the board approved an updated Ready for Learning plan for the district. The update reflects that the district will move to three-foot social distancing because of covid-19, instead of six-foot social distancing.
The board recognized the Above and Beyond awards for March and April. Joe Snodgrass, Reach associate at the middle school, received the March award and Coach Reed Mendoza was the April winner. Each received a $100 gift card to Sams Furniture. The monthly award is sponsored by Sams and Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce.
Also, the board accepted resignations from five teachers, softball coach Beau Collins, Yvette Townsend, Aron Parisi, Elzie Fields and Jackie Dye, and accepted resignations from three classified employees, Shana Yang, Michele Smith and Reba Moore.