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Gainesville teaching supplement change likely on hold one more year

POSTED: May 16, 2014 11:59 p.m.

Local salary supplements for Gainesville teachers aren’t expected to change for next school year, despite some discussion about it.

“The board needs to make a decision by June 2,” Superintendent Merrianne Dyer said. “I’m going to recommend to the board that we keep the current salary schedule and continue to study this.” 

While the topic has been discussed intermittently by school board members for a few months — and researched by the system as a whole for the past four years — Dyer said she doesn’t think there’s enough support for a change just yet.

Georgia teachers have a set base pay determined by the state based on their certification level, years of experience and any additional qualifications they may bring. 

Right now, Gainesville teachers’ local supplement is determined by a percentage of the state base; that system has been in place for more than 20 years.

“The other (option) is to decouple, or flatten (the pay scale),” Dyer said.

Using a flat amount as the local supplement would decrease pay for many, but Dyer said the extra funds from the decrease would then be distributed to employees with extra certifications and qualifications.

She said the “little amounts” saved by flattening the local supplement would be approximately $280,000, to then be distributed to employees with extra endorsements.

“Everyone would be making a little less money in their local supplement,” Dyer said. “However, those people that perform extra duties and service for the school system, which results in increased funding, would be receiving an additional local supplement.”

Looking at where the majority of Gainesville employees fall on the certification and base pay scale, Dyer said most would lose around $400 in local supplementation if the proposal were accepted as is.

For example, a teacher with seven years of experience would have a regular supplement of $4,500 under the new proposal. But an endorsed English-language teacher serving both English-language learners and general education students would receive an additional $1,000.

Gifted and special education teachers, as well as teachers with math and reading endorsements, would also be eligible for additional pay.

“As we studied the things that increase student achievement,” Dyer added, “it’s clear that teachers with ELL endorsement in our school system have the skill and do additional work, whether it be in a classroom of only ELLs or a general ed classroom, that increase our student achievement. It’s the same with the gifted endorsement. A rising tide helps all ships.”

For the most part, Gainesville teachers have expressed interest in the change but are wary of doing so at the moment. Most don’t want any sort of decrease.

Leigh Elliott, a teacher at Enota Multiple Intelligences Academy, expressed that ambiguity.

“Teachers were open-minded to hearing about the proposal but felt more time to consider the plan was needed,” she said.


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