Another step was taken in adjusting salary scales for the Clarksdale Municipal School District at a special meeting Monday afternoon.
A study from the Mississippi School Board Association showed some CMSD administrators are overpaid while other employees are underpaid.
The board looked at that data and at Nelson’s direction voted on Monday to increase the salaries of the food service manager and employees and custodians.
Food service employees and custodians will make anywhere from $8.67 to $13.17 an hour depending on experience. The hourly wage for each employee increased from $0.60 to $1 for a particular year.
Superintendent Dr. Earl Joe Nelson said the COVID pandemic caused a financial need for families.
“It was determined based on the years of experience they had. We gave an increase based on their years of experience,” Nelson said. “That may be from 60 cents to a dollar. It’s just a range based on their years of experience.”
The food service manager will now receive anywhere from $13.50 to $18 per hour with a $400 travel supplement.
“I am very thankful that we started with our custodians and our cafeteria staff,” Nelson said. “I’m very thankful for that because here again, we really need to make adjustments for them to bring them up to par.”
The administrative scale was adjusted for new administrators. The change has not yet been made to adjust the scale for current administrators.
“If they worked at another school district, we had to wait for that paperwork to come in and verify where they should be in salary,” Nelson said. “There was that adjustment.”
Several questions still must be answered before the salary scales for teachers and administrators are adjusted.
“We just came to the board and did a budget workshop of where we think our tax revenue is going to fall,” Nelson said. “As a fiscal agent of the district, we need to see where that tax base is going to fall before we move forward on anything.
“We know that the tax base is coming in a certain period of time per month, which we learned last meeting,” he explained. “We’ve just got to wait to see what those numbers are going to be like before we look at everything else.”
As of now, the district had more expenditures than revenue for the 2020-21 fiscal year that ended June 30.
However, the district is still receiving payments for the fiscal year that would add to the revenue. If the expenses are still higher than the revenue, the difference would be pulled from the fund balance.
“We will look at everything else, but here again, we went from a meeting of having someone say we were at $1.2 (million),” Nelson said. “Then we went to $800,000. Then we went to $333,000. And so those numbers are doable numbers to fix our fund balance.”
Federal funding will impact decisions.
Congress set aside approximately $13.2 billion of the $30.75 billion allotted to the Education Stabilization Fund through the Coronavirus Aid Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act for the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER Fund).
“There are some things we are going to do with federal money,” Nelson said. “I’m also very thankful that we took a part of our federal dollars based on the regulations to reopen for COVID and we paid our existing custodian staff an increase based on those federal dollars. So they did get an opportunity to make more based on ESSER and the way it’s written for us to do reopening based on COVID.”
Even after the federal funding comes in, Nelson said the CMSD should still be able to afford the same things.
“We’re two or three years out from spending federal funds, ESSER 2 and ESSER 3,” Nelson said. “We hear it’s going to be ESSER 4. We don’t know that for sure, but in the next two or three years from a tax standpoint, we should be at a stronger base where we can fiscally manage this district where we can be successful in our fund balance and our funds to pay our staff and keep this district moving in a successful manner.”
Nelson said the CMSD would be coming back with a master plan to deal with these issues.