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home : latest news : local April 29, 2016

5/20/2014 11:20:00 AM
Williams School District support staff set to receive raise in fall

Marissa Freireich
Williams-Grand Canyon News Reporter

WILLIAMS, Ariz. - Williams Unified School District (WUSD) support staff will receive a raise of 33 cents per hour for the 2014-2015 school year.

The WUSD Governing Board members approved a revised wage schedule at their May 14 meeting after tabling the issue at their April 23 meeting.

District staff first brought the proposed wage schedule to the board last month without any changes. Under that wage schedule, entry level Class 2 employees such as custodians would have made $8.78 an hour and entry level Class 4 employees such as bus drivers would have made $11.48 an hour.

WUSD Superintendent Rachel Savage and Business Manager Melissa Ellico said they would look into an across-the-board raise for the support staff that would come in the form of an addendum in August.

"What happens is if you raise the salary schedule the same time you give people a raise, new people are still coming in at the same place that someone who has been here longer is getting," Ellico said. "Whereas if you give the current employees raises and keep this the same then when a brand new person comes in they're not coming in above where your current employees are.

At that meeting, three governing board members expressed unhappiness regarding the wage schedule.

"I can see the pay here-it sucks," said board member Herman Nixon. "No wonder we go through so many employees. It's terrible."

Board member Thomas Ross agreed, calling the wages "embarrassingly low."

Savage told the board that the numbers were an initial placement schedule for people with no experience or education, and most support staff made more than those figures.

Board member David Nenne said the district would have to make a change eventually.

"At some point we have to bite the bullet and raise the base," Nenne said. "And if the majority of people make more than the base now, let's raise the base."

After the board tabled the issue at its April 23 meeting, district staff presented a revised wage schedule at last week's meeting reflecting a 33-cent increase for all classes and experience levels. Under the new schedule, entry level Class 2 employees such as custodians will make $9.11 an hour and entry level Class 4 employees such as bus drivers will make $11.81 an hour.

The board unanimously approved the new wage schedule, with Nenne absent.

"I think we're moving in the right direction," Nixon said. "There's going to be more moves as this goes on. I'm looking forward to seeing those moves and some of the adjustments that are going to be made. So I'm okay with it at this point."

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