Salary hike will cost district around $400,000

Unlike recent years when the Hannibal Board of Education delayed giving pay raises until it was certain what was coming from Jefferson City in the way of state funds for education, on Wednesday night the school board was ready to act when it came time to discuss salaries for the 2018-19 school year.

Agreeing with the recommendation of Superintendent Susan Johnson, board members awarded 2 percent pay hikes to support personnel, certified staff and administrators. Johnson’s recommendation came out of meetings she has had with local teacher groups.

Those same teacher representatives also proposed modifying the salary schedule at the Hannibal Career and Technical Center (HCTC) to reward instructors who may not have a college degree, but who had many years of on-the-job experience in specialized fields when they joined the HCTC teaching staff. Johnson indicated that she wanted to do more research on the proposal, and gain staff input, before making a formal recommendation to the school board.

In terms of certified staff and administrators the salary increases that were approved will cost the district approximately $316,000, according to Johnson. The pay hikes that support staff members will see will cost the district just shy of $90,000, added the superintendent.

Asked about the district’s base salary, Johnson reported that it will be increasing from $33,650 to $34,323.

Johnson was also asked how the Hannibal public school district’s salary schedule compares with other schools in the North Central Missouri Conference. According to the superintendent, Hannibal ranks “right in the middle” of the conference. She noted that some conference school districts may start out with a higher base salary, but may not offer the same level of salary-step increases that Hannibal does.

The Hannibal school district also gave what amounted to 2 percent pay increases last year, but waited to do so. Last April the board of education approved issuing contracts along with letters of intent that held salaries the same, with the exception of pay increases based on years of service. That salary approach applied to certified personnel, support staff and administrators.

That action was taken because of the fiscal uncertainty that surrounded the state capitol, from where almost half the district’s revenue comes. At the time Johnson said that the longer the district could wait the more accurate revenue numbers it would have with which to work.

In June 2017 the school board approved increasing the base pay for certified staff by $500, which was equivalent to a 2 percent raise. Administrators and support staff personnel also were given 2 percent pay bumps.

In 2016-17, on the heels of the passage of Prop C, the school board OK’d a salary “rollover.” Under that salary plan all staff members were given credit for their years of service, plus credit for any professional development they had achieved during the previous year. That approach was identical to what had been approved during the 2015-16 school year.

Reach reporter Danny Henley at danny.henley@courierpost.com