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October 30, 2013

County schools update central office salary schedule

Total cost of approx. $27,000 per year

With some outdated job descriptions and payscales making the central office a mish-mash of new and old positions in recent years, the Cullman County Board of Education has rolled out a new salary schedule officials hope will bring more equity to the system.

The new schedule establishes four position levels for non-directors in the central office, including Level A for clerks and receptionists; Level B for secretaries; Level C for bookkeepers and department administrative assistants; and Level D for accountant and superintendent’s secretary. It affects approximately 15 central office employees.

Several employees received a small raise under the new schedule, with the total cost expected to add approximately $27,000 per year to the central office budget. But, officials say they should break even with the increase by absorbing and not replacing a recently retired central office staffer.

Superintendent Billy Coleman said the new salary system has been in the works for quite some time, and the board’s aim was to update and correct some lingering payscale discrepancies.

“This has probably been about a two year process, and at times people almost threw their hands up and said it couldn’t be done,” he said. “We’re just trying to bring the salary schedule in line and bring some equity.”

Coleman noted one major driving force behind the updated schedule was to reward staffers who take on additional responsibilities when a department director is in the field.

“We have some supervisors who are sometimes out in schools, and they’ll sometimes have a designee heading things up for them while they’re out,” he explained. “We felt it was important to note in some of those situations where someone is serving almost as a departmental administrative assistant.”

Systemwide finance director Randy Dunlap said the new schedule helps create a clear path for employees and should help avoid any future concerns of payscale inequity.

“Over the years we’ve gone from no schedule, to four steps to seven steps,” Dunlap said of the system’s past attempts to create a universal salary schedule. “Now, we have four levels and we’ve done a better job of defining roles. The AEA (Alabama Education Association) has been pushing for us to do something, and this is just a much cleaner way of doing things. It eliminates the gray areas.”

These central office changes were only the latest attempts by the school board to update the system’s antiquated salary schedules, following some tweaks in other departments over the past two years.

After losing a handful of qualified computer technicians to higher-paid offers in other systems and the private market, the board created its first-ever technology salary schedule earlier this year. Officials say that change has helped bring some much-needed stability to the department.

Trent Moore can be reached by e-mail at trentm@cullmantimes.com, or by telephone at 734-2131, ext. 220.

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