A feasibility study for all salaries highlighted discussion during a special called Clarksdale Municipal School District board meeting Thursday night.
The board heard a presentation from Mississippi School Board Association executive director Denotris Jackson in executive session.
“The study was for us to examine currently what we have in place and to see how we can make it clearer to understand based on years of experiences instead of steps,” said CMSD superintendent Dr. Earl Joe Nelson. “It could be somewhat confusing. Also, it’s compared to other school districts of size and enrollment. And it’s also compared to schools within a 75 to 150-mile radius to us. We’re just comparing to see where we are versus other districts and what we need to align to get better.”
Nelson did not comment on specific areas where the district could improve with its salaries. He did say, in addition to trying to provide the best salaries, the district has other incentives for educators to work there.
He specifically said, under federal programs, educators could have their tuition reimbursed if they earn an advanced degree.
“That’s a huge benefit to come and work for a district and they invest in your education and your future,” Nelson said.
“They sign a so many year commitment. They start at a three-year commitment to say they’re going to work in the district based on receiving those funds or they have to pay those funds back.”
Nelson said the feasibility study is beneficial to the taxpayers.
“We want to show that we’re very prudent with taxpayers’ money,” Nelson said. “This feasibility study is to show that we’re doing the best for our taxpayers and our tax base when it comes to education.
The district has 2,237 students and receives $5,250 per student from the state. The district has revenue of about $26.4 million and $19.1 million is spent on teachers, staff and administration. Districts across the state traditionally spend between 80- and 85-percent on instruction or payroll.