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Board approves RISD salary increases

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From left, Chad Cole, Greg Maxie, Denise Dawson and Brian Byrd stand before the Roswell Independent School District to discuss salary increases on July 9. (Alison Penn Photo)

Superintendent: Salaries are competitive ‘within a 75-mile radius’

Roswell Independent School District’s school board approved salary increases for teachers, administrators and other personnel for the upcoming school year.

Once the salaries are also ratified by the Roswell Educators Association (REA) and Communications Workers of America (CWA) unions, salary increases will be ready for RISD employees as of payroll on July 25, according to Greg Maxie, regional representative of the National Education Association and Chad Cole, RISD assistant superintendent for finance and operations.

Cole said there were improvements this year in funding from the New Mexico Legislature through the oil and gas industry.

Thirty-five different salary schedules were worked on to have them ready for the July 9 meeting.

The increases come from the General Appropriation Act of 2019 in House Bill 2 (HB 2), in which the Legislature called for 6% increases for teachers, administrators and other staff, only for the 2019-20 school year.

School board members President Alan Gedde, Vice President Ruben Sanchez, Secretary Dr. Kathleen Pittman, Mona Kirk and James Edwards unanimously voted to approve the salaries on July 9.

RISD Superintendent Dr. Ann Lynn McIlroy recommended approval — with the exception of some needed corrections — at the July 9 meeting. On July 18, a special meeting was held and the board unanimously approved updates to the salary schedules with minor corrections.

“This particular salary schedule actually makes us competitive with other districts within a 75-mile radius,” McIlroy said, sharing her excitement in incentivizing experienced and highly educated teachers. “Our goal is within three years to be competitive with anybody in the state. But it’s going to take us three years to get there, but we have the commitment from both (the) district and from our REA representatives to make that happen. …”

Denise Dawson, REA president, and Maxie worked with Cole and Brian Byrd, assistant superintendent of talent management. They stood before the board on July 9, since they acted as the bargaining team.

According to the New Mexico Public Education Department’s website, the passage of HB 188 in 2018 began the four-year transition from the teacher Training and Experience (T&E) index to be replaced with the new Teacher Cost Index (TCI), for funding. The PED website also noted that the district’s funding could be impacted if teachers have high education or experience levels, but low licensure attainment.

Maxie said the TCI presents some problems for Roswell and the four largest districts in the southeast. He said T&E recognized continuing education for pay increases, while TCI does not, after a certain number of years in each level.

Maxie said it was reviewed which districts RISD teachers moved to over the last five years — such as Ruidoso and Artesia — and “what it would take to bring them back.”

Saying it was a “big deal” to be “competitive in the region,” Maxie said these salary schedules mean “approximately a 14.9% average increase for teachers” and the salary schedule was compressed to a 30-year schedule.

With the licensure systems, Maxie said the idea is to recruit teachers and incentivize them to increase their licensure levels.

Also from HB 2, Cole said minimum salaries increased for each of the three tiers of the teacher licensure systems — a level one teacher now makes $41,000; a level two teacher makes $50,000; and level three teachers make $60,000.

RISD is one of only three districts, Maxie said, where non-certified staff “are receiving a 7% pay raise instead of the mandated 6%.” He said non-certified staff will be seeing an average of an 8.9% increase and administrators are receiving about 8.1%.

Cole reiterated 6% is the statutory requirement for everyone.

“You can be very proud of this salary schedule because of where you are in the district,” Maxie said. “You guys have made great gains and not only for your certified, but your non-certified staff (also). …”

City/RISD reporter Alison Penn can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or at reporter04@rdrnews.com.