Booneville and Paris school teachers receive pay raises with help from the state

Alex Gladden
Fort Smith Times Record
The Paris School Board voted to give teachers and Superintendent Wayne Fawcett raises at its May 13 meeting. Paris recently held school board elections. June Gilbreath and Dustin Schluterman were chosen by voters.

The Booneville and Paris school districts, with help from the state, gave their teachers raises. 

At Booneville, teachers with master's degrees received $2,200 more, while teachers with a bachelor's degree received $2,025 more, Booneville Superintendent Trent Goff said.

The total cost of the raise was $315,000, and the state provided $170,000 of that, Goff said. 

For the 2021 to 2022 school year in Paris, teachers will receive $1,100 from the state, and an additional $400 from the district, Paris Superintendent Wayne Fawcett said.

“We felt like the district was in a good enough financial standing to add an additional $400," Fawcett said.

Furthermore, those who had a bachelor's and more than 20 years of experience got an additional $480, and those who had a master's and more than 26 years of experience got an additional $510, Fawcett said.

These raises brought the teachers' salaries up to the minimum amount set by the state legislature in 2019. The law made a starting salary for a teacher with a bachelor's degree $36,000.

The legislators mandated that the raises had to be in place by 2023.

Fawcett also received a $2,010 raise, which required a separate action by the Paris School Board. He received the same raise as teachers with a master's degree and more than 26 years of experience.

Thus far, the Paris School District has hired 99 certified staff members. Officials are not able to calculate next school year's median staff salary because they do not know how many staff members they will hire, Fawcett said.

Both superintendents agreed that it is important for teachers to receive raises.

“I think most people will agree that teachers do not and are not paid what they should," Fawcett said.

The superintendents said their teachers work hard and are dedicated to their positions.

“Teaching is a very tough, demanding position," Goff said.

Fawcett pointed out that teachers are particularly deserving of raises this year in light of the pandemic.

“They all work extremely hard. It’s been a tough year," Fawcett said.

Fawcett also said that raises are crucial to keeping and recruiting good teachers to the district.

“We don’t want to do just the minimum," Fawcett said about teacher's pay.