Comparing paychecks

Published 10:59 am Saturday, December 17, 2011

FRANKLIN—The Franklin School Board has agreed to compare its teachers’ salaries with other districts in the area.

“What I would really like to see is a salary scale to support a budget discussion in the future,” member Glenn Hopkins said. “You lose experience when you lose teachers and other experts to surrounding areas, and I’d hate to lose them because of salaries.”

The staff should have the information compiled by the 7:30 p.m. Jan. 12 meeting at City Hall.

The average annual starting salary for first-year teachers with a bachelor’s degree in Franklin for 2010-2011 was $36,000, according to the Virginia Department of Education. Southampton County paid $36,870, Isle of Wight $39,200, Suffolk $38,900 and Sussex County $39,048.

Sussex County has 1,200 students and Franklin, 1,300.

The average salary for the last fiscal year in Franklin was $44,111. Southampton’s was $44,069, Isle of Wight $51,404, Suffolk $50,130 and Sussex $49,077.

Franklin’s projected average salary for 2011 is slightly higher at $45,710. Southampton’s rate is $44,993, Isle of Wight $50,423, Suffolk $49,124 and Sussex $48,786.

Member Will Councill suggested hiring a consultant to look at salaries, pay scale and gaps or overlaps in job descriptions, which would’ve cost $25,000.

“I guess my feelings are somewhat twofold,” said Superintendent Dr. Michelle Belle. “If it’s something like comparing salaries around us, that’s something we can do.”

Belle said there is not much overlapping of responsibilities with “skeleton crews at each building.”

She cautioned the board about spending the money for the consultants, noting trouble with an engine for a bus that takes students to Appomattox Regional Governor’s School in Petersburg and the uncertainty of “what’s going to happen with facilities in the cold.”

Board member Edna King noted a need to identify the overlaps in job descriptions, given the tight economy, but preferred helping teachers first.

“I would like to see us do something with salaries of teachers first if we have any money,” King said.

Board member Johnetta Nichols agreed.

“I think with any money available we need to look to see what we can do for our teachers,” Nichols said.