Kingsport School Board Supports Classified Salary Increase for Employees | Education

KINGSPORT — When Kingsport School Board President Jim Welch quizzed the five-member council on budget priorities, a classified pay raise easily came out on top during a Tuesday night business session.

Asked by Welch about a recent budget presentation session, Vice President Julie Byers and members Brandon Fletcher, Todd Golden and Melissa Woods said classified salary increases were at the top of their budget list, as was Welch.

Last year, the board completed full funding for the teacher pay scale ahead of schedule.

This pay scale, a traditional scale that takes into account years of service and education level, has recently been overhauled but has not been fully funded, leaving some teachers who came on board with the old pay scale to single track earn less than the scale says they should.

With respect to the 2022-23 budget, increased counseling services for students also received board support, as did salary increases for classified staff, including aides, cafeteria workers, bus drivers and other uncertified personnel.

However, better safety and security also gained support. The comments came from a recent presentation of budget requests to the Board of Directors.

“We were very lucky at Cora Cox (Academy) that day,” Byers said of a recent incident where an alternative school student pointed a gun at another student.

Woods said classified pay raises are “paramount” in her mind to bring employees, whom she called heroes, more in tune with other school systems, governments and the private sector.

She said they had a passion for students but they also had to pay their rent or their mortgage and their electricity bills, adding that she didn’t want to see them doing any other jobs outside of their passion. to help children learn.

Byers cited the need for a classified increase as well as increased security, as well as the replacement of an old van in Cora Cox nicknamed “Rusty”.

Fletcher cited classified salary increases and the need for more counseling services by school staff and outside agencies Frontier Health and Camelot, who said they could not hire enough counselors to fill positions. funded, citing 17 DB EXCEL student referrals to Creekside Behavioral Health this school year.

Golden agreed with the need for higher pay and said people were flocking to Kingsport, buying houses “without seeing them” largely because of the school system. “What makes Kingsport Kingsport is the education system,” Golden said.

Welch added, “Graded compensation is at the top of my list.”

He said more counseling services, capital improvements, funding and coverage by school resource officers were needed.

And like Byers, Welch said the city, not the school system, should pay for ORS. The school system has about $275,000 a year budgeted for four full-time SROs, according to chief financial officer David Frye. Additionally, Director of Student Services Jim Nash said four part-time SROs are funded by a Tennessee Safe Schools grant.

“Reading, writing and arithmetic are our business. The police are not. The police are the business of the police and the city,” Welch said.

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