Teacher pay raise approved in Huntsville City Schools

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – The Huntsville City Schools board of education approved a teacher pay raise plan on Thursday that will be implemented over the next three years. Leaders say it is all about making the district competitive with surrounding school systems in the effort to recruit teachers.

The plan is an increase on top of a 2.5% state-mandated increase. Once the raises fully take effect, teachers on a particular pay scale will be paid higher than those on the same scale in Madison City Schools and in Madison County Schools, said school leaders. The raise would cost the system $10.1 million additional funding per year.

“We’ve made significant cuts in our contracts. We have made significant cuts in this office. Over 1.5 million dollars in this office alone,” said Deputy Superintendent of Finance, Bob Hagood. “We are looking at new technology that is about half of what we have spent in years past. We are looking at new software that is costing less than we have paid in years past. We are looking at every other expense we can.”

Hagood assured the board the increases could be sustained.

“I’m tickled to death we are doing something for the teachers on the salary,” said Walker McGinnis, board member. “I’m very guarded about that,” he added, explaining the strain. “We’ve got to do it. Teachers deserve it, plus we have got to stay competitive.”

“It’s never risky to do the right thing,” added Pam Hill, a big proponent of teacher raises. “Thank you, Dr. Akin.”

Michelle Watkins added, “Tonight, I want to thank you for your hard work in cutting back, for listening to the concerns, and for following through. I know our teachers appreciate it.”

Akin said that it’s a good thing, but cuts in spending still have to be made.

“It’s not over. To get to year three, we have to look at every contract and get those things right. It’s not as simple as saying, ‘Everyone gets a 2.5% raisee above the state.'” He explained that the new salary schedule, which the district will distribute, adds incremental raises more often, and sooner in a teacher’s career, than the matrix the district uses now.

“The strategy in this is simply to be competitive with the districts around us,” said Akin.

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