PULASKI COUNTY, Ark – Teachers in the Pulaski County Special School District and the Little Rock School District could be walking into 2022 with some extra cash in their wallets.
Tuesday PCSSD voted in favor to raise starting salaries for teachers entering the district and increase pay for current teachers.
PCSSD Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Shawn Burgess says raises will have the biggest impact on new teachers who are anywhere from their first to 12 years of teaching.
“We start right now $36,800 and it’s going to go to $40,000,” said Burgess.
Burgess says tenure teachers will still receive a one percent pay increase.
“We are working harder than we have ever worked before,” said PCSSD teacher Brenda Robinson.
Robinson has been teaching in the district for 28 years. She says these past three during the pandemic have been nothing like years prior.
Robinson said in the time since the pandemic started, teachers have had to switch from the classroom to virtual teaching and then hybrid. Robinson says it has put added stress on teachers and even caused some to leave the business altogether.
“We need to make sure that we attract, recruit and retain teachers,” said Robinson.
Robinson says the raises are geared towards those new teachers and is hoping the extra pay will get more people in the door.
Across the highway, LRSD is working on a similar plan for its teachers.
The plan includes pay raises for new and seasoned educators.
“We have to kind of do our own thing, we have to pull up our bootstraps we have to take care of our resources right,” said LRSD Superintendent Michael Poore.
According to Poore starting salaries in the district will increase from about 36,000 a year to $42,000. Poore says the budget is based on a three-year plan, where each year salaries will continue to go up.
LRSD says they are also offering raises to their seasoned teachers. Those will depend on the level of education and years spent in front of the classroom.
Poore says the district can increase wages thanks to cuts taken over the last few years. Poore says some schools have been closed and they have also had to shrink their staff numbers due to low enrollment.
“it’s attributed again to our entire staff that we’re at this point because we’ve gone through some tough times,” said Poore.
Poore says the district has been working on this budget plan for years and are hoping to have in effect by January.
LRSD is expected to make an official vote on the budget by the end of the month.
PCSSD says they hope to have the raises in effect by July.