TPSD standardizes administrative pay

By Chris Kieffer/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – The Tupelo School District will formalize the way its administrators, directors and hourly employees are paid.
The School Board last week approved a salary scale for all district employees except teachers and assistant teachers. Those two groups already had salary scales as required by state law.
The new scale will cover a variety of workers from principals and assistant principals to cafeteria workers and maintenance staff.
Their salaries were previously determined by the superintendent or the employee’s director and were approved by the school board.
The new scale will set a range for each person’s salary and allow for five yearly steps, or raises, between the low and high ends of the range.
“This allows us to have a scale competitive with other districts across the state, and it allows us to have a unified protocol,” Tupelo Superintendent Gearl Loden said.
For example, principal salaries will range between $77,916 and $98,592 for elementary leaders, between $84,276 and $98,592 for middle school and between $94,800 and $115,344 for high school.
For assistant principals, the range is $48,564 to $69,120 for elementary, $59,220 to $69,276 for middle school and $64,044 to $74,928 for high school.
The scale will allow the district to freeze pay raises if the employee has a bad performance review or if the budget is tight.
“This puts all employees on an established step scale,” said TPSD Personnel Director Jim Turner.
State law only requires the salary scales for teachers and assistant teachers. School districts have flexibility in how they compensate other groups of employees.
Turner surveyed 12 other school districts to determine what they pay employees in similar positions. The district plans to conduct a similar study in about three years to ensure its rates remain in an appropriate range.
“We surveyed other districts and looked at where they are and what we needed to do to remain competitive,” Turner said.
It will cost the district about $170,000 extra to initially place all of its employees on the scale, Turner said, according to a preliminary report from the finance department.

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