Wright City School District approves scheduled staff raises

Derrick Forsythe
Staff Writer

Determined to maintain its low turnover rates, the Wright City R-II School District continues to rank among the top in state when it comes to salary for starting staff.

The R-II School Board approved its latest salary schedule during the June 25 board meeting, providing for an annual step raise for staff.

“We certainly believe our most important resource is our staff,” said Superintendent Dr. Chris Berger. “Board members and administrations before me have made a strong commitment to the salary schedule.”

The 42-step schedule includes a beginning salary of $40,250 for a teacher with a Bachelor’s degree. R-II is one of only 28 districts in the state with a starting salary above $40,000.

“Our starting salary is very competitive,” said Berger. “Every year we’d like to be able to do more, but we’re proud of where we’re at.”

There are also five levels of pay increase based upon education level, ranging from Bachelor’s degree to an Education Specialist Degree or Doctorate. Berger said the district tries to incentivize continued education among staff by honoring those steps with increased income.

“As educators, we certainly are aware that continuing our teachers’ education is important and valuable in the classroom,” said Berger. “Like many districts, R-II provides opportunities for growth horizontally.”

The highest starting salary for teachers with an Education Specialist Degree is $48,750.

The maximum teaching salary at the 42nd step is $68,925 for Bachelor’s level and $82,500 for Education Specialist.

“The state gives an incentive to move forward, too,” said Berger. “They encourage teachers to move toward their master’s, because the state realizes the value of being a continuous, lifelong learner.”

Starting pay for R-II paraprofessionals or teacher aides begins at $12.38 per hour for those with under 60 hours of college credit, and $15.44 per hour for those with more than 60 hours of credit.

Starting pay for speech language pathologists is $50,250 at the Bachelor’s level and peaks at $92,500 for Education Specialist on the 42nd step.

“Being able to maintain benefits and allow employees to take their steps was priority one,” said Berger. “We’re very pleased we can continue to recruit top-quality staff.”

The impact of R-II’s progressive salary schedule has been reflected in its continually decreasing turnover rate. The latest staff exit surveys also evidenced the role of salary in retention, with just one of 11 reporting staff indicating an opportunity for higher pay as a reason for leaving the district.

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