Oak Ridge teachers, staff members, and principals have requested a 2.5 percent salary increase in the next school year.
The requests could be considered as part of the budget discussions for the fiscal year that starts July 1.
The Oak Ridge Education Association said the consumer price index has increased 2.38 percent on average each year during the past decade. Meanwhile, the annual salary increase for school staff members has averaged 1.5 percent.
Teachers have not had a pay increase for several years, said Mike Haygood, OREA co-president.
“Some type of salary increase is long overdue,” he told members of the Oak Ridge Board of Education during a March 24 meeting.
The OREA said the modest increase would help restore some lost buying power while allowing Oak Ridge Schools to remain competitive with other top school systems.
Robertsville Middle School Principal Bruce Lay and Linden Elementary School Principal Roger Ward said Oak Ridge Schools must offer a quality salary and benefits package in order to continue attracting and maintaining highly qualified teachers.
“Future quality teachers will need incentives to relocate and possibly leave a tenured position,” Lay and Ward said. “A quality salary and benefits package combined with the opportunity to teach for a quality school system will provide the incentive necessary to continue attracting high qualified staff.
“We view this request as modest in general and realize the importance of increasing salaries to show appreciation of current staff while creating a salary package that will attract future staff,” Lay and Ward said. “We will once again reiterate that the raise we receive should be equal to the raise received by the Oak Ridge Schools support and teaching staff.”
Information provided to the Oak Ridge Board of Education during the March meeting said the average salaries of Oak Ridge principals in 2011-2012 ranked seventh in the state.
Haygood said Oak Ridge schools minimum teachers’ pay in the 2013 school year, for a beginning teacher with a bachelor’s degree, fell to 15th in the state—and to 16th for a beginning teacher with a master’s degree.
In addition to the pay raise, teachers and staff members have asked that:
- all existing staff positions and programs that directly affect student achievement and success be fully funded;
- health insurance, eye care, and dental benefits be maintained at current levels;
- a one-time bonus of $100 be provided to certified staff members for each year of service with Oak Ridge Schools, payable upon retirement and with the maximum capped at $3,000; and
- one more personal leave day be awarded to full-time staff members.
Local budget discussions are expected to gear up soon for both the schools and city. The Oak Ridge City Council has an informal budget discussion at 9 a.m. Thursday in the Mayor’s Office at the Municipal Building.
See the principals’ proposal here: FY 2015 Principals Salary Proposal.
See the Oak Ridge Education Association proposal here: 2015 Oak Ridge Education Association Proposal.