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Dekalb Schools Asking County For Help With Salaries

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Dekalb Schools Asking County For Help With Salaries

Dekalb County School officials told the County Commission’s Budget Committee Tuesday night, it needs help funding salary increases for teachers and staff.

Director of Schools Patrick Cripps said by keeping a healthy fund balance, the district has managed to fund raises itself in years past. He said as general expenses increase and the district works to maintain competitive pay, it will have to lean on extra help from tax dollars. He said while the district’s starting teacher pay is above the $50,000 threshold being pushed by the state, subsequent raises will strain the fund balance.

“Our backend is not keeping up with the front end,” Cripps said. “And what I mean by that is, you know, our teachers that have worked 20-plus years, when comparing surrounding districts, we fell behind on that end of the spectrum.”

Cripps said finding ways to balance competitive pay, capital projects, and all of the programs students rely on has been challenging. Crippse said with districts fighting over staff in the midst of a state-wide teacher shortage, competitive pay has to be the top priority.

“Our kids are our future, and we’ve got to put the very best people that we can working with our kids,” Cripps said. “And that’s not just our teachers. That’s all employees. You want the best that you can get to work with our kids.”

Cripps said each penny of sales tax and property tax that the county can offer the district represents some $62,000. He said the board is looking for areas to make cuts so that it does not ask too much of taxpayers.

“Everybody’s budgets are increasing across the county and that’s just the nature of the beast,” Cripps said. “And you know, we know that when we ask for raises, we know that’s going to hit our taxpayers’ money or our taxpayers’ pockets.”

He said he and the board do not relish cutting teacher positions in programs that do not generate a high student population because those cuts affect the employment of valued individuals, but as they work to lead the district, those are the difficult decisions that must be made.

“Educators is what puts our kids going out into the job world,” Cripps said. “And you graduate college or a trade school or something like that, you can be making more than what a starting out teacher can.”

The County Commission meets Thursday night.


The post Dekalb Schools Asking County For Help With Salaries appeared first on News Talk 94.1/AM 1600.