By Diana Whittle
The Kyrene district is more competitive in compensating teachers and administrative staff this school year, according to research presented to the Governing Board by the Fox Lawson Group.
The researchers are winding down a three-year compensation study, which began in 2013-14 and revealed that, previously, teachers in the East Valley received higher compensation in several nearby school districts when compared to Kyrene.
At that time, Fox Lawson researcher Annette Hoefer warned the Governing Board that Kyrene was losing ground in the marketplace and should implement a phased approach to increasing salaries in order to retain experienced teachers
Based on those findings, the Governing Board decided to increase pay ranges for teachers and other staff in the district so that they reach a level of 67th percent of the market by 2018-2019.
The pay increases are proposed to be implemented in three phases, pending budgetary approval. In addition they must be affordable and not compromise student learning, said Hoefer.
The data summary prepared by Fox Lawson shows that the most Kyrene teachers received a 4.5 percent raise in the current school year, while other school districts offered about 2.9 percent.
Due to a recent change in Arizona minimum wage laws, some support positions in Kyrene also received a pay adjustment in January, if their hourly rate was below $10.
Hoefer explained to the Governing Board that during each year of the survey, specific job classifications were selected, studied and benchmarked against similar positions in other nearby school districts, including Chandler, Gilbert, Higley, Mesa, Tempe and Scottsdale.
“In each survey, we looked to compare positions that have similar duties and functions, not just reviewed by title,” said Hoefer.
Fox Lawson considers a valid job match one in which the descriptions are approximately 70 percent like the other. For the 2016-17 analysis, the jobs studied included positions that were not reviewed in the previous two survey cycles. They included two executive positions, five administrative positions and 20 support jobs, along with two teaching positions and the school social worker.
“The results of their work provides useful information to district staff and the Governing Board, which will be used during the budget cycle to determine any pay increases,” said John King, newly elected as president of the board.
In addition, the Fox Lawson recommendations are used by human resources staff in negotiating with employee groups, said Dr. Mark Knight, assistant superintendent of the district.
— Diana Whittle