KSBA’s Director of Advocacy Eric Kennedy discussed KSBA’s survey on school district employee raises at the legislature’s Sept. 21 Interim Joint Appropriations and Revenue Committee meeting.
Kennedy explained that KSBA asked school districts, “Did your school board approve an across-the-board employee raise for the 2022-23 school year (that was separate and in addition to step increases, and no matter if it was called a cost of living/COLA increase; increment; raise; etc.)?”
Ninety-five percent answered, “Yes.” All but nine of Kentucky’s school districts included raises in their 2022-23 budgets. About 37 percent gave all employees the same percent raise, while approximately 58 percent of districts adopted more complex compensation packages for 2022-23 such as additional raises for targeted employees, alternating increases for classified/certified staff or increases determined by years of service.
For example, some districts gave raises to food service workers, transportation and daycare workers because the previous year they gave raises to certified staff. Another district gave an across the board 4% raise to all employees, he said.
“Really the big takeaway here is that most districts gave something, but it was all a unique local approach,” Kennedy told legislators.
Sen. Chris McDaniel, R-Ryland Heights, asked if KSBA supports having legislators decide funding levels and local districts decide on employee pay – instead of a legislators mandating a raise.
Kennedy said most KSBA members support local decision-making on raises because many districts would not be able to pay for an unfunded, state-mandated across-the-board raise.
Fayette County Schools Internal Auditor and Kentucky Association of School Business Officials President Nick Clark, who presented along with Kennedy, said that the SEEK increase in the current state budget allowed districts to tailor raises to their needs.
"Right now, there are a lot of districts across the state, across the country having issues filling positions, not just teaching, but probably having more trouble finding classified employees," he said. "So allowing local school districts to make the decision is huge."