Teachers in the Brentwood School District have agreed to collectively forgo scheduled pay increases in the 2011-12 school year to prevent any layoffs or cutbacks to their colleagues.
The district usually follows a specific method when determining pay for teachers and support staff. For teachers, their pay increases with each additional year of experience. They also receive more pay depending if they have a bachelor's, master's or master's with 30 additional credit hours.
The continuing decline of assessed values of Brentwood homes has caused a drop in district revenue. The agreement—which saves the district $231,710—allows the school district to stay out of the red in the 2011-12 school year, Superintendent Dr. Charles Penberthy said.
"Money is still tight, but this has allowed us to present a balanced budget," he said.
After accounting for escalating costs like utilities and insurance, district administrators used the rest of its projected budget to pay for salaries.
And while teachers' pay levels remain frozen, each level will see a 1 percent increase in pay. The increase helps to account for rising retirement costs, which teachers pay, Penberthy said. They would normally see a 3 percent raise by jumping to the next pay level, he said.
A teacher with a bachelor's degree and five years experience made $43,682 in 2010-11. Instead of earning the scheduled $45,867 for an additional year of experience in 2011-12, the teacher would make $44,337 with the freeze.
"This way, no one gets a lot of money, but everyone gets a little bit," Penberthy said.
Teachers will still accumulate an extra year of experience when it comes to tenure and retirement.
Support staffers—like custodians, school secretaries or teachers aides—aren't affected by the pay schedule freeze. Their scheduled pay increases will remain and each level will see a 1.5 percent increase in pay, but most of the support staff has reached the top of the pay schedule, Penberthy said.
A committee comprised of Penberthy, another district administrator, two Brentwood Board of Education members and six teachers negotiated the staff pay. The Brentwood Board of Education approved the pay schedule freeze at a meeting last Tuesday.
The district employs 95 teachers and 60 support staff.
CLARIFICATION: This article's headline has been adjusted to more accurately reflect the definition of the pay agreement.