NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Money was on the table at tonight’s North Little Rock Board of Education meeting; specifically, what to do about teachers’ salaries.
Two different motions were voted on: a general salary increase for teachers and additional COVID pay for those who worked during the pandemic. This comes just over a month after the Little Rock School District and Pulaski County Special School District voted to increase teachers’ salaries for their staff.
The North Little Rock Licensed Personnel Policies Committee, or LPPC, presented a teacher retention plan to the board that included a $4,000 bump in salary. In the proposal, it was revealed that the average turnover rate for first-year teachers in North Little Rock is around 54%. The state average, according to that same report, is 17%.
Presenters from the committee said a factor that could be leading to the high turnover rate is a low base salary. According to the report, out of 6 surrounding school districts of similar size, NLRSD has a lower salary rate than all but 2 at most teacher experience levels.
To fix this, it was proposed to raise the salary at each level by $4,000, a move the board agreed is just too expensive to approve.
Board members said issues like declining student enrollment and other pricey projects like the need for a new middle school are what’s holding them back from boosting the pay by $4,000. They instead voted to send back the report to the LPPC and vowed to work with educators to find a new number, which can then be worked into an updated proposal.
What did pass was additional COVID pay for teachers who worked on-site during the pandemic. The motion was similar to what was approved last school year for a rate of $15.27 per day and passed almost instantly with a unanimous vote.