RCPS raises teacher salaries in 2021-22 budget

Terry Oatts 22
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Focus on competitive recruitment and retention of top educators

 

CONYERS, GA Rockdale County Public Schools (RCPS) teachers and employees will see significant salary increases in the 2021-2022 school year with the recently approved FY22 budget that focused on addressing student needs and increasing competitiveness in recruiting and retaining top educators. Employees will see an average 4 to 10.9 percent pay increase, the school system announced today(July 6). The approved FY22 budget of $171,361,813, a modest 3.6 percent increase, was approved by the Rockdale County Board of Education at the June 24, 2021 meeting.

One of the key features of the FY22 budget – the salary increase for all teachers and those paid on the teacher certification salary schedule – came as a result of a comprehensive salary study that RCPS Superintendent Terry Oatts directed RCPS Human Resources to undertake shortly after becoming Superintendent in 2018.

“The purpose of the salary study was to determine RCPS’ comparative salary competitiveness regionally and to offer recommended options for increasing salary competitiveness,” Oatts said

RCPS Chief of Human Resources Kim McDermon said the Rockdale school system values all of its teachers.

“This balanced system addresses the value RCPS places on teachers, from the first-year teacher to the 30-year veteran.” “The approved teacher pay scale incorporates a more competitive entry annual rate and uniform longevity increase. This decision impacts the entire teacher salary schedule, with all teaching staff receiving an increase in annual pay. The increase to the entry-level pay is $1,000 based on a teacher with a Bachelor’s degree. Teachers with a Doctoral degree would experience a $1,300 increase each year they stay with RCPS. This new pay scale enables RCPS to recruit and retain a highly effective workforce.”

Not only will the new budget increase the salaries of teachers and those paid on the teacher salary schedule, but other certified and classified personnel will also see a bump in their salary due to budget features such as step increases and the adoption of other recommendations from the salary study.

“Under Dr. Oatts’ focused fiscal leadership and the Board’s responsible oversight, we have seen our fund balance grow significantly by approximately $20 million,” said Keith Hull, Chief Financial Officer. “The dedication and hard work from our departments, schools, and budget committees over the last three years implementing a fiscally responsible budget puts RCPS in a strong financial position to support a $1,000 increase in starting pay to our certified teachers’ salary scale as well as a step increase for all employees. The average employee will see an approximate increase between 4 and 10.9 percent.”

Increasing RCPS’ regional salary competitiveness is the right thing to do both practically and strategically, said Oatts.

“I appreciate and commend our Finance Department’s astute fiscal consultation and management during this pandemic. Our teachers, support personnel, administrators, and classified employees have worked tirelessly both prior to and during this pandemic. Enhancing our salary competitiveness is essential to making RCPS more attractive regionally and enabling us to recruit and retain world-class employees,” said Oatts. This ongoing dedication to supporting personnel was also demonstrated during the pandemic when the state gave a bonus to some public-school employees and RCPS made the additional commitment of making sure all employees received a bonus.

The Board of Education is expected to lower tax rates for FY22 and will set millage rates at the July 15 meeting.

For more information, visit www.rockdaleschools.org.

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