Raley: Salaries becoming more competitive

By Josette Keelor

Shenandoah County’s School Board recognized teacher pay scale progress at its Thursday night meeting.

Superintendent Jeremy Raley said Friday that the district has been able to offer more competitive jobs by closing the gap between teacher salaries in Shenandoah County and those in neighboring counties.

“I’m very proud of the work of our School Board,” Raley said. “They made it [salary competition] a priority last year.”

In a report comparing the school district’s pay scale to others in a median comparison group, Director for Finance Cynthia Page showed that on average school district teacher salaries have grown by $835 since last year.

The report showed average salaries of teachers with bachelor’s degrees who have worked for the school system for up to 30 years.

School divisions comprising the median comparison group were the cities of Winchester and Harrisonburg and the counties of Augusta, Clarke, Frederick, Page, Rockingham and Warren.

The report showed that the greatest discrepancies in last year’s pay scale occurred for teachers in their 10th, 25th or 30th year. Pay differences for those years ranged from $1,590 to $2,484, compared with teachers in other counties. For the 2014-15 school year, the average difference will be $506 in the 25th year and $194 in the 30th year. Shenandoah teachers in their 10th year of teaching now make more than those in the median group, the report said.

Though the School Board also took steps to remediate salary gaps among other district personnel, Raley said there are still gaps. “But we’ve made tremendous progress,” he said. “[The report] shows they’re making great strides.”

He said the equity adjustments are completed and that the School Board has modified staff contracts to reflect changes. Next steps include continuing benchmarking efforts for teacher salaries to match market standards and expanding benchmarking for non-teaching staff.

School Board members also reported that district schools achieved high marks on SAT, ACT and advanced placement tests and scored a 95.4 percent on-time graduation rate.

Only six other schools rated better than Shenandoah did, Raley said. Regionally, only Clarke and Page counties rated higher with 100 and 96.7 percent respectively.

“We are extremely proud of our on-time grad rate,” he said.

The meeting included several recognitions of school achievement — award winners from Central High School’s Future Farmers of America team and Triplett Tech’s SkillsUSA winners — about which Raley said is always exciting to hear.

“It’s a great way to start our meetings,” he said.

The next Shenandoah County School Board meeting will be at the Shenandoah County Government Center, 600 N. Main St., Woodstock at 7 p.m. Oct. 13.

Contact staff writer Josette Keelor at 540-465-5137, ext. 176, or jkeelor@nvdaily.com