At its March 1, 2022 Special Called Meeting, the Wayne County Board of Education received an update from Chief Finance Officer, Leslie Rouse, about a regional salary study that the school district participated in. As part of her update, Mrs. Rouse informed the Board of four key concerns affecting 13 school districts across the region: compressed salary schedules, increases in the minimum wage for state employees, districts’ ability to entice employees into open positions, and decreased student enrollment and funding. Mrs. Rouse then shared recommendations from the study, and the local challenges WCPS will have in meeting them.
Following the update, Superintendent David Lewis led a discussion with Board members to get their input regarding a reasonable timeline for full implementation of the recommended salary schedules for classified staff. Dr. Lewis also noted the potential need to balance the number of personnel employed with the district’s ability to pay them an appropriate wage. One challenge that was conveyed throughout the discussion is that WCPS does not currently have set salary schedules for classified positions. Having set salary schedules would allow the district to offer and promote consistent, appropriate, and competitive starting salaries and step increases which take in account years of experience and education for different classified positions.
There was much discussion and many questions among Board members, such as: are contracted services more affordable than full-time employees; are there any options to use savings from vacant positions to increase salaries within impacted areas; and could district leadership determine how many positions are actually covered through local, state and federal funds in order for the Board to make informed decisions regarding salary schedules and timelines which may require additional funding or positional cuts in order to sustain them over time?
Following the discussion, Dr. Lewis confirmed with the Board two themes that came out of the dialogue for district leadership to consider. The first theme was that there is urgency with the Board for district leadership to develop a three year phase-in of appropriate salary schedules for classified employees. The second theme is that district leadership may need to strike a balance between the number of classified positions the school district can reasonably fund while at the same time offering employees appropriate and competitive salary schedules.
Following the salary schedule discussion, the Board entered closed session for personnel and to consult with legal counsel. The Board adjourned its meeting after returning from closed session.