School pay committee sets raises for secretaries, custodians

Jarek Rutz Education, Headlines

Pay scale suggestions for secretaries and custodians were approved by the PECC Monday.

Pay scale suggestions for secretaries and custodians were approved by the PECC Monday.

The Public Education Compensation Committee voted Monday on recommendations for how to raise pay for school employees other than teachers, but including secretaries and custodial positions.

The specific group is cited under Delaware Code Sections 1308 and 1311

The committee agreed to condense the five secretarial positions – clerk, secretary, senior secretary, financial secretary and administrative secretary – into three, which would be administrative assistant I, administrative assistant II and administrative assistant III. 

Their salaries would rise through a one-time, 2% increase with  $500 flat increase. That will be in addition to the 3% raise for all education jobs included in the fiscal year 2024 state budget, which takes effect July 1. 

Monday’s recommendations will affect 839 employees throughout Delaware.

The 15-person committee which was formed at the beginning of this school year to make recommendations to the state on how to raise pay in the education system to better compete regionally for teachers.

Last month, in light of the ongoing national teacher shortage, the group voted to bring teacher’s starting salary to $60,000 via a four-year plan. That model will give teachers a 2% salary increase and a flat dollar increase of $1,875 to the base salary for teachers, nurses and administrators each year until it reaches $60,000 by the 2027-2028 school year.

RELATED: Heated debate ends in vote to raise teacher pay over 4 years

 Gov. John Carney and the Joint Finance Committee will have to review the committee’s  recommendations.

“We don’t want people to feel like this committee’s recommendation represents a promise,” said Chuck Longfellow, chief financial officer at Christina School District. “This committee is not in a position to make this promise to allocate this money, others are.”

In several of the committee’s past meetings, members grappled with the idea of making sure they made competitive recommendations while still keeping in mind that they have to be realistic about the state’s budget.

The recommendations for the secretaries would cost the state $26,645,269.

The committee also voted to condense the custodial positions from six  – custodian, custodian firefighter, chief custodian of five or fewer, chief custodian of six or more, maintenance mechanic and skilled craftsperson – to four.

The new categories would be custodian, assistant chief custodian, chief custodian and skilled maintenance/craftsperson.  

Raises for this group would come via a one-time 2% flat increase and a flat stipend depending on the position, which is $439 for custodians, $662 for assistant chief custodians, $883 for chief custodians and $1,105 for skilled maintenance/craftspersons. 

The approval of this salary scale for custodial positions would  affect 1,492 workers in Delaware and cost the state $45,204,647. .

Both recommendations received unanimous votes, but Stephanie Ingram, president of the state teacher’s union, said the committee isn’t doing enough to hear from the people that the recommendations would affect. 

“If we were to take a vote on this tonight public comment would not come out until after we had already voted,” she said, “So the people who would be adversely affected by our decisions or our recommendations wouldn’t have a chance to speak to the group.”

No one spoke during the public comment portion at the end of the meeting. 

The Public Education Compensation Committee’s next meeting is May 15 at 4:30 p.m., and the group will focus on the pay scales of school food service workers and paraprofessionals. 

Watch it here.

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