Concordia School Board looks at salaries

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Staff salary issues were front and center at the Concordia Board of Education’s regular meeting on April 13.

The board agreed with the Community Teachers Organization that ranking fifth in starting base salaries among the seven schools in the I-70 Conference schools does not make the district very competitive when seeking staff. After a lengthy discussion examining all sides of the issue, the board made a substantial move to close the gap.

During a presentation to the board, Michael Brown, representing the CTO, gave members a rundown of base salary ranges for conference schools. Noting the school’s CSIP plan, Brown quoted an entry that states: “The district will develop a competitive salary package for the staff to be in the top half of the I-70 Conference.”

In looking at the base pay for teachers with a bachelor’s degree, Concordia schools last year had a starting base salary of $30,000. Lone Jack leads the pack with a starting salary of $34,250; Sweet Springs, $32,407; Orrick, $32,200; Wellington, $31,320; Crest Ridge, $29,300; and Santa Fe, $27,956.

Neighboring districts that are not part of the I-70 Conference but might still influence teachers seeking positions also were noted. Knob Noster pays the most with a starting base salary of $34,875; Odessa, $34,500; Warrensburg, $33,700; and Higginsville, $32,000.

Brown also noted a recent blind survey of 2016-2017 staff that asked, among other salary and benefit questions: “If you are planning on leaving Concordia R-2 Schools next year, would you consider the salary schedule a primary factor in your decision.” Out of all respondents, 85% said yes, with one saying, “Absolutely. I love the community and school district, but I can’t afford to stay.”

After looking closely at current staffing positions, projected staffing needs, projected revenues and current budget reserves, a motion was made to approve a $1,000 raise to the base salary for teaching staff and a $5,000 pay increase for administrators for the coming school year. As part of the motion, board members agreed to wait to discuss employee benefits until the health insurance contract comes up for renewal this summer. The motion passed unanimously.

In addition, the board approved an hourly raise of 25-cents for support staff, plus a step increase, which varies from 16 cents to 30 cents an hour. Resignations also were accepted from high school math teacher Revay Schlitt and fourth-grade teacher Lauren Francis.

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