FCPSB would like to raise staff salaries

Published 11:13 am Friday, March 7, 2014

FRANKLIN—Even after a 3 percent raise this past year, Franklin City Public School staff still lags behind the regional average, and the school board would like to close that gap with a 2 percent raise.

That 2 percent raise, however, would add approximately $205,000 to the budget.

“I’d like to ask,” said Ward 3 representative Johnetta Nichols. “If you don’t ask, you won’t get it.

“If we are ever going to be competitive, it does not make sense to not ask for something,” added chairwoman Edna King.

With three members absent – Nancy Godwin, ward 2, Sherita Ricks-Parker, ward 4, and Dawna Walton, ward 6 – the Franklin City School Board talked budget dreams and realities Wednesday evening.

They took no action, as the school board is not set to adopt a budget until April. The work session was only to allow the board a chance to get their ideas into the superintendent’s proposed budget, which will be presented to the board in March and to the Franklin City Council in April.

Nichols said that she’d also like to see an increase in substitute teacher pay.

“I remember talking about the quality or, more so, the lack of quality in some of the substitutes we get,” Nichols said. “I don’t know if that has to do with what we pay as opposed to the surrounding areas.

“If that is one of the reasons we don’t get high quality subs, I think we should look at being more competitive.”

A substitute secretary makes more than a substitute teacher, Nichols said.

“If I am a person with a master’s or bachelor’s degree, and I see that the secretary is making more than me, that doesn’t give me much incentive to come to Franklin and be a sub,” she said. “Let’s see if this is in our best interest.”

Nichols was also interested in adding a central office position that would be endorsed in handling elementary instruction and curriculum.

“With what we are trying to do, building a curriculum and moving all of our educational programs and students forward, I have always thought that we need to have another instruction person to go with our director of instruction,” she said.

Nichols said the position could be an assistant superintendent position, or an associate director of instruction.

If it were to be an assistant superintendent, King and Will Councill, ward 1, thought that perhaps this person could also handle public relations.

“I was not excited when you were talking about adding an assistant superintendent of instruction,” Councill said. “Until we added public information officer. Then it makes a little more sense because we can get double the value.”

Nichols said she understands why the board would put an emphasis on the money, but she added that the most important thing should be improving student performance.

“We have to put things in place that are going to improve student achievement,” Nichols said. “That is what it is going to take to see the SOL scores rise. It is totally different in how you run an instructional program for elementary children and for the secondary. Right now we have one person doing all of that.”

King also emphasized the growing importance of technology in the world of teaching, and wanted to add laptop or iPad carts for teachers.

“I would like to see us build the inventory so that any teacher who wants a cart can get it,” she said. “It makes a difference for the students. They are more motivated to work with technology.”

Nichols said they usually added one a year, but agreed that it wasn’t enough.

“If you add one a year, a first grader would have graduated by the time you have enough per teacher,” she said. “You almost have to have it. We may not be able to have a cart for every teacher, but it would be nice that if a teacher needed it, that one could be reasonably obtained.”

Councill’s concern was if the schools were getting their bang for their buck with the dean of student positions.

Superintendent Dr. Michelle Belle said that the principals would say so.

“Overall, I believe it has increased the availability of the administrators,” she said. “The principals are able to spend more time in the classroom.”

She also felt like students with discipline problems were getting more counseling. Belle added that an evaluation would take place.

The board will have another work session relating to budgets on Tuesday, March 11.