Thursday, Jan. 5, 2023–10:24 a.m.
David Crowder, WRGA News
The Floyd County Board of Education sat down with members of the local legislative delegation on Wednesday to discuss issues ranging from funding and teacher retention to the college and career academy and a proposed pay raise for school board members.
The last raise for the school board was in 2019 when the salary went from $400 per month to $600 a month. This raise would bring the monthly salary to just over $1,000.
“They are on call all the time,” said Superintendent Glenn White. “So, we go through the Christmas holiday and I am communicating with them continually because there are issues going on. They don’t get a per diem; they have to pay their own mileage and all of the other stuff. The pay would go to about a thousand dollars a month, but they spend more than that probably, just on their time and the expenses of doing the job.”
The money for the raise would come from local funds, not state funds. However, It is illegal for the school board to vote on a pay raise for itself, so it has to go through the legislature.
State Representative Katie Dempsey said there will have to be an educational process before a vote under the Gold Dome. She suggested gathering numbers from comparable school systems across the district.
“We do get per diems as legislators, but it is very close to our salary,” she told the board. “I think we’ll have some questions. We’re going to navigate it and keep you informed in order to do it at the right time. We have two years, once a bill is introduced.
The board and legislators also discussed teacher retention.
State Senator-elect Colton Moore, the newest member of the local legislative delegation cited a poll from 2018 that showed 60% of teachers would not recommend the profession to others. He wanted to know what could be done to bring that number down.
The Floyd County School System has an education career pathway at the college and career academy and has placed more than 80 student teachers.
White added that state pay raises and increases in the local supplement have helped retain more teachers.
“Our goal is for teachers in the Floyd County School System to be the highest paid teachers in Northwest Georgia, with the exception of Bartow County,” he said. “The reason we can’t compete with Bartow County is that they have to compete with Cobb and Paulding Counties, and we can’t match up with them. But around here, we want to be the highest paid.”
Board chair Melinda Strickland said the thing she hears the most from teachers is “Just let us teach”
“There is a lot of push across this nation about changes coming in and opinions,” she said. “But we are here to educate children; we’re not here to raise the children. That’s the parents’ responsibility. We need to keep our focus on education and what we can do to make them successful citizens.
The meeting concluded with White and the board inviting the delegation to tour the school system this spring. That’s when work will start on turf fields and synthetic tracks at two high schools and new field houses at two others. The delegation is also expected to tour the Floyd County College and Career Academy, which is ranked number one in the state.
The 2023 session of the Georgia General Assembly begins on Monday.