Hardin Co. board approves cost-of-living pay hikes in budget; most staff to see 1% increase, substitute teachers get first day rate bump in more than 10 years, custodian pay to rise 5%

News-Enterprise, Elizabethtown, May 19, 2017

HCS approves cost-of-living increase

By Katherine Knott

All staff in Hardin County Schools will receive a cost of living adjustment next school year.

The 1 percent raise was included in the 2018 tentative budget, which the board passed at its Thursday night meeting.

The board approved a $142,234,865 tentative budget. This is the second phase in the budget process and based on estimates. In September, the district will know how much money they’ll receive from the state and taxes when they pass the working budget, which is the final step of the process.

HCS Chief Operations Officer John Stith said he was not recommending a greater raise since state funding has remained flat and the board did not approve a tax increase last year.

“When revenue is not increasing, it’s difficult to recommend a 2 percent (increase) without corresponding revenue,” he said.

Staff also receives a salary increase for experience.

Stith said the district was able to give the cost-of-living adjustment because a capital fund request in the current fiscal year paid for buses for 2018.

The board also approved salary increases for substitute teachers and custodians. The daily rate for substitute teachers will increase by $10 for each level.

Superintendent Teresa Morgan wrote in the decision paper for the salary change the increase was necessary “to keep Hardin County Schools comparable for recruiting and retention of the most-qualified substitute teachers.”

According to records, the daily rate for substitute teachers has not increased since the 2005-06 school year.

Custodians will see a 5 percent increase as a way to entice job seekers to apply for custodial positions and then retain them.

“Right now, we don’t have people applying for these positions,” Morgan said.

Morgan said the schools can’t compete with local businesses who offer more money. The starting pay for custodians now is $9.86.

Board member Kay Sharon questioned at the board’s lunch meeting why these two positions were seeing wage increases.

Stith said those positions were chosen because schools are having trouble finding custodians and substitutes. Principals have listed better pay for both positions as a top need for the district in the annual needs assessment.

“When the demand goes up for workers, it doesn’t leave you with a lot of options,” Stith said.

The plan is to increase custodial salaries another 5 percent next school year.

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