Big raises planned for some Atlanta school employees

Substantial pay raises are on the way for Atlanta public school employees whose salaries haven’t budged in more than four years.

Those 2,558 employees, most of them teachers, will receive raises of about 5.6 percent, according to a proposal approved Thursday by the city school board’s Budget Commission.

Employees whose pay has been stagnant for more than two years but less than four years will get raises of about 2.8 percent, as well as one-time $1,000 bonuses. All of the school system’s 7,000 employees will earn some kind of pay increase.

This proposal replaces the school board’s previous plan, which sought to give every employee a 3 percent raise.

“Doing it this way reaches people more equitably. We want a fair distribution of raises,” said board Chairman Courtney English.

A pay bump will be welcome news to teachers who last received a step increase in 2009 and a 2.5 percent cost of living adjustment in 2008.

Superintendent Erroll Davis said he wanted to bring the salaries of longer-term employees closer to the level of experienced teachers from other school districts who entered the school system at a higher pay grade.

“This was a better way of giving raises than doing it just across the board,” Davis said.

The pay raises make up about $15 million of Atlanta Public Schools’ proposed $658 million budget for the 2014-2015 school year. The budget is scheduled for final approval Tuesday.

Employees also get another bonus: the restoration of three days’ pay that was eliminated this year through furloughs, which saved about $4.5 million. Next school year won’t have furlough days.

Board member Eshe Collins said she was concerned that teachers who received recent pay increases after spending their money to earn master’s or doctoral degrees wouldn’t be eligible for the most substantial raises.

But Chief Financial Officer Chuck Burbridge said the school system’s administration wanted to reach those employees who have gone the longest without a salary hike.

Atlanta Public Schools pay raise plan

  • 3,241 full-time employees who haven’t received a raise within the last two years will receive 2.8 percent step raises.
  • Of those employees, 2,558 who haven’t received a raise within the last four years will receive an additional 2.8 percent step raise.
  • All full-time employees will receive the $1,000 bonus except those getting two step raises and those hired this year, who will get a $500 bonus.
  • 975 part-time and hourly employees will receive a 5 percent raise.

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