JCPS considering salary structure overhaul as part of 2017-18 dr - WDRB 41 Louisville News

JCPS considering salary structure overhaul as part of 2017-18 draft budget

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Saying that Jefferson County Public Schools is facing "difficult decisions" because of limited resources, district officials will ask the school board to take a closer look at overhauling the salary structures of its certified administrators and classified staff.

The district's April 2016 comprehensive salary study will be discussed as part of a 2017-18 draft budget work session with the Jefferson County Board of Education on Tuesday. According to a PowerPoint presentation uploaded Wednesday night, JCPS will have $14.7 million in available resources, while budget requests aligned with the district's strategic plan total $42.7 million.

And with student enrollment projections down this year and projected to be down another 500 students this fall due in part to a change that sets the cutoff date for Kentucky students to start kindergarten as Aug. 1 (instead of Oct. 1), the amount of money JCPS get from the state in per pupil spending will decrease and other grants are set to expire.

The presentation mentions a potential $60 million in cost savings annually from restructuring the salaries of certified administrators and classified staff, saying that the salary study found JCPS is paying between $52 million and $66 million in "premium" salaries for non-teachers when compared to salaries at similar school districts around the country.

However, the district has not even started the process on how to scale back those salaries, so it's unlikely it will happen before the new budget cycle starts July 1.

The salary review, which cost the district $192,000, was conducted by Virginia-based Management Advisory Group International Inc., following the 2014 audit of JCPS by former Kentucky Auditor Adam Edelen.

In that audit, Edelen suggested JCPS do a salary review after it found central office employees were receiving significantly higher salaries than employees at comparable school districts. Edelen said JCPS spends more money on administration – and less on instruction – than similarly sized school districts, leaving the vast majority of teachers dipping into their own pockets for classroom needs.

Before exiting the school board last month, former board chairman member David Jones Jr. urged his colleagues on the board to address the district's non-teacher salary structure, saying millions being spent on higher salaries could be used inside the classroom instead.

JCPS chief business officer Tom Hudson has said the district is "OK with paying a premium to attract and retain teachers."

He noted that one reason why JCPS has higher salaries than those in peer districts is because the pay of senior classified administrators and classified staff was linked to that of teachers in 1998, Hudson said.

"That means that when teachers got raises, so did administrators," he said.

The salary review, which cost the district $192,000, was conducted by Virginia-based Management Advisory Group International Inc., following the 2014 audit of JCPS by former Kentucky Auditor Adam Edelen.

In that audit, Edelen suggested JCPS do a salary review after it found central office employees were receiving significantly higher salaries than employees at comparable school districts. Edelen said JCPS spends more money on administration – and less on instruction – than similarly sized school districts, leaving the vast majority of teachers dipping into their own pockets for classroom needs.

JCPS is building its 2017-18 draft budget with the assumption that only the district's teachers and members of the Teamsters union would receive cost-of-living and step increases, which is because the other union groups' contracts are up for negotiation this summer.

The district is also assuming at this point no change in property tax and that while occupational taxes are expected to increase again, the increase will not be at the "robust pace as post recession years."

The current year's budget is $1.4 billion, and next year's budget is expected to be about $1.5 billion, with $1.2 billion being funded by the general fund. 

Here is how the JCPS budget process works:

The draft budget is the first of three budgets that will be approved by the school board this year -- it includes estimates for school allocations and specific assumptions.

Schools won't get their specific allocations until February and individual school budgets won't be submitted until March. District-level budget meetings with Superintendent Donna Hargens and her cabinet will be held during March and April to go over budget requests. That is when new budget requests, if any, are added to the tentative budget which be up for board approval in May.

If there is a tax rate increased needed, that won't be advertised until August. The final working budget, which includes tax rates and negotiated salary adjustments, will be up for approval in September.

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