Career advancement and leadership opportunities for teachers and other educators will be explored by the PECC in the next few months. (Photo by Who is Danny/Adobe Stock)

Teacher pay committee to focus now on career ladders 

Jarek RutzEducation, Headlines

Career advancement and leadership opportunities for teachers and other educators will be explored by the PECC in the next few months. (Photo by Who is Danny/Adobe Stock)

Career advancement and leadership opportunities for teachers and other educators will be explored by the PECC in the next few months. (Photo by Who is Danny/Adobe Stock)

The state committee responsible for making recommendations on the pay of educators now turns its focus to creating leadership and career advancement opportunities for teachers.

Its last public meeting was in early January, when it presented its suggestions to the General Assembly. 

The committee was formed by Senate Bill 100 to make salary suggestions on each educator employee group to keep Delaware competitive with other states and to combat the ongoing educator shortage. 

All of its suggestions except one was included in Gov. John Carney’s proposed 2025 budget.

In its meeting Monday afternoon, the committee said it’s now focused on three tasks: 

  • Determining how educators can achieve additional opportunities for career advancement, taking into account degrees, certifications, competencies and leadership responsibilities while being paid appropriately.
  • Creating leadership roles that will yield additional pay.
  • Creating avenues for more pay if educators have responsibilities that are not generally required in the classroom.

The committee has created a Teacher Career Ladder Work Group, that will work on these three tasks and report to the whole committee in June. 

Committee member Margie López Waite, who is chief executive officer Las Américas ASPIRA Academy, is head of the work group. 

She said the group has made initial connections with Rodel to focus on teacher leadership, as well as beginning discussion around how the state funding formula could allocate fiscal resources to local districts via a “Career Ladder Supplement.”

RELATED: ASPIRA shows off new high school serving Latino students

“We want to recommend a compensation structure that is commensurate with the level of responsibilities and the impact that it has on student outcomes and student success,” she said, “which is ultimately why we’re invested in doing and making these career ladders available.”

Committee member Rep. Kim Williams, D-Marshallton and chair of the House Education Committee, suggested increased funding for teachers who are dual certified in special education. 

David Kohan, an educator in the Christina School District who is part of the work group, said that has been considered and is part of the ongoing discussion. 

López Waite added that the group has also talked about teachers who have an English Second Language certification. 

The pay committee’s next meeting is Monday. June 3 at 4:30 p.m. Watch it here

That meeting will be a presentation from the Teacher Career Ladder Working Group Chairs – Kohan and  López Waite – regarding their work on teacher leadership and career advancement.

Secretary of Education Mark Holodick, who is also chair of the Public Education Compensation Committee, congratulated its members for its swift work this past year and having almost all of its recommendations accepted by the governor. 

“So the phase one recap is that the governor in his recommended budget has recommended… all of our recommendations for every employee group except one, which is what we included with the IT positions,” Holodick said.  

Although included in Gov. John Carney’s Fiscal Year 2025 Recommended Budget, the state legislature still has to approve any and all recommendations when it comes to adjusting the pay scale. 

“There does seem to be some real, I would describe it as bipartisan interest in supporting our recommendations,” Holodick said. “I’m just stating what I think is obvious at this point, which is that the education community, and I would include legislators in on that, just seem to be genuinely interested in addressing the challenges with recruitment and retention.”

RELATED: Educator pay report gets mostly warm welcome from legislators

Here are the recommendations the governor would like to have adopted:

  • 1305 – teachers and administrators: a 2% increase plus a $1,875 stipend (state cost = $212,658,997 over next four fiscal years).
  • 1308 – secretaries: a 2+ increase plus a $500 stipend and condensing the scale from five positions to three (state cost = $1,407,799 for fiscal year 2025).
  • 1311 – custodians: a 2% increase, stipends ranging from $439 to $1,105 and condensing the scale from six to four positions (state cost = $2,472,787 for fiscal year 2025).
  • 1322 – food service: a 2.5% increase (state cost = $1,771,234 for fiscal year 2025).
  • 1324 – paraprofessionals: a 1% increase and stipends ranging from $1,000 to $2,000 (state cost = $3,096,586 for fiscal year 2025).
  • Bus drivers: Increase hourly wages from $22.50 per hour to $25 (state cost = $4,847,348).

The group’s recommendation on information technology workers was to create state funding units for them, since right now IT employees are sort of “free agents” and districts can pay them whatever employee group they wish. This recommendation would have cost the state $6,926,517 for fiscal year 2025.

Teachers and administrators would be phased out over four years, while every other employee group would have their complete raises adjusted in fiscal year 2025, which aligns with the 2024-2025 academic year. 

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