Joplin School Board Passes Budget with Money for Teacher Raises

Joplin School Board Passes Budget with Money for Teacher Raises
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Joplin teachers are in for a pay raise but just how much is still a mystery.

It’s part of a budget approved at last night’s school board meeting.

Summer school is in session and some teachers are still hard at work. For others, when they return in August, there will be a little more coming in their paychecks.

Joplin schools chief financial officer Paul Barr says, ‘The board decided at the conclusion of that (discussion) with a vote that they would arrive at a number of nine hundred thousand dollars they would devote to salaries and benefits for next year.”

The Joplin NEA now represents teachers and its leader says the news is exciting.

Crystal Stokes says, “They are excited cause we are valued and we have become the priority. We are done with the buildings. Teachers and their professionalism and experience is valued. Of course, a raise is definitely needed to be competitive in our area.”

Specific levels or how salary increases will be delivered has yet to be determined by union officials will sit at the table.

Stokes says, “We’re not even receiving a one percent step increase.

That’s why NEA requested we receive step and two percent on top of step. That would increase our base pays and that’s where we are looking to retain teachers.”

Stokes says next year the union will be negotiating contracts that include not just salary but working conditions.. Something that usually happens in February.

“By May, all teachers will know how much making foe the following year.”

And Barr says the finance committee and board voted to boost and rebuild the districts fund balances with this budget.

Barr says, “The current budget does adopt a small fifty thousand dollar receipt of new revenue that we expect next year and set aside to increase balances as a starting point. It’s a small but meaningful gesture toward that.”

Financial strength for the future that’s likely to benefit teachers down the road.

Again just how much teachers will each receive has yet to be determined. A special session is expected in early July.