Williamson County Board of Education OKs pay raises and incentives to retain teachers, staff
Williamson County Schools Superintendent Jason Golden (third from right) addresses school board members Jan. 18. The board voted unanimously to advance a mid-year pay raise and other measures related to staff retention and the district's growth. (Martin Cassidy/Community Impact Newspaper)
The three separate measures, approved 10-0 at the board’s regular meeting, include a mid-year 3% pay increase for all teachers and a $1 pay increase for all hourly staff at a cost of $3.9 million through fiscal year 2021-22. Another $3.4 million is being requested to pay salary and benefits for 44 already on the job regular and special education teachers hired this year to handle unexpected growth in the student population.
The board also approved a $5,000 retention bonus to district school psychologists, a position where the district currently has 12 vacancies for 54 positions, officials said.
“We hope our staff recognizes that we’re doing what we can within the funding that we have to make a difference for them,” Williamson County Schools Superintendent Jason Golden said.
Rachel Farmer, assistant district superintendent of budget and finance, said the district can comfortably afford the pay raises and incentives from a windfall in the district's share of sales tax revenue this year, which was up 30% year over year in 2021.
“I’m confident enough to say to you that even if it did drop off and these levels back out that we will be fine with existing revenue that we’ve already taken in,” Farmer said. “Even with a 7% increase in sales tax next year, which is in line with what it has been in the past years, we would still be able to find the money.”
If approved by the Williamson County Commission next month, the raises would be effective Feb. 1 with workers receiving them in their Feb. 28 paychecks.
Golden said district officials will continue to grapple with the need to consider higher salaries and other changes to burnish the district's appeal for teachers and workers who often have more opportunities due to a slew of teacher retirements during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"An area we are really working on is providing a living salary for our staff," Golden said. "In February I want to share some details from our human resources folks with some really good data and projections for the next year."