R-2 budget decisions pending on teacher salary increase, dollar value modifier

By Roxie Murphy, Staff Writer
Posted 6/15/22

Gasconade County R-2 Superintendent Dr. Jeri Kay Hardy on Friday said the board of education is still waiting to make any budget decisions regarding the proposal to increase teacher salary to $38,000 …

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R-2 budget decisions pending on teacher salary increase, dollar value modifier

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Gasconade County R-2 Superintendent Dr. Jeri Kay Hardy on Friday said the board of education is still waiting to make any budget decisions regarding the proposal to increase teacher salary to $38,000 annually or how to spend additional funding expected through Senate Bill 818 — a dollar value modifier (DVM) proposal awaiting the governor’s signature.

“The governor has not signed either one,” Hardy said on Friday. “We are waiting for him to sign it into law or not. Or in 45 days, if he has not signed it, it could go into law or be vetoed.”

Gov. Mike Parson has also strongly suggested school districts across the state raise teacher minimum salaries to $38,000 from $33,000 annually.

“This is the first time we have ever had to deal with a large teacher salary increase,” Hardy said. “It is a big burden for the school district.”

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) is offering a 70/30 match grant to help pay for the teacher salary increase for the first year. That has school districts paying for $1,500 more per teacher and the grant taking on the additional $3,500 per teacher.

However, as the grant is only being offered for a year, the Missouri Association of School Administrators (MASA) has suggested several options, including a thirteenth-month contract that disburses the increase as a stipend. The Maries County R-2 School District has chosen to do a thirteenth contract stipend if the measure passes. That allows school districts to continue with the minimum salary at $33,000 after the grant expires.

“Funds for the $38,000 are only guaranteed for one year,” Hardy said.

The board of education does not plan to make a decision until the June 27 board meeting. The governor normally signs May legislation into law by mid June.

“Our projection is that it is all going to pass,” Hardy said. “But you can’t make premature decisions and then all the funding falls through. It could happen with the dollar value modifier (DVM) or the $38,000 salaries.”

Out of more than 150 teachers, the district currently has 42 teachers who are within the first two years of their teaching career. That number does not include all of the teachers earning less than $38,000 annually.

Hardy said the dollar value modifier that passed in SB 818 in May, which would allow the Gasconade County R-2 School District to use the same formula as Franklin County to receive state funding, may help absorb the teacher salary increase.

If the governor approves SB 818, the Gasconade County School District will receive an additional $1 million dollars annually.

The Maries County R-2 School District is also set to receive an additional $100,000 from the DMV legislation.

“We have to be fiscally responsible with government funding,” Hardy said. “We are having a budget workshop. We will talk about the different scenarios they want to put in place. That gives them something to think about. There are still suggestions coming down from MASA.”

The board does not plan to finalize the 2022-23 budget until the June 27 meeting. The meeting is moved back one week from the regularly scheduled third Monday of the month to close out the 2021-22 fiscal year closer to June 30.

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