Now that we've transitioned to a new year, it's time to start considering personnel changes, hires and contracts. When we begin personnel discussions, the first and obvious focus is employee classification and how any replacements will be employed if you must replace employees or even make new hires. When contracts are examined, it is important to ensure they match the school personnel report in base salary, extra duty salary and benefits and that the total salary is properly reported.
The salary increase that was voted by the legislature for FY20 was unusual. It only affected the employees who were employed by a district during FY19 and maintained employment in FY20 within the same district. There was no change in the state minimum salary schedule. If you do bring in new employees, it is vital to give an accurate representation of the minimum salary that will be proffered. If you write that it will be the state minimum, be prepared for the understanding that the state minimum is not accurate if that person taught in Oklahoma last year and in the same district in FY19 and 20. This is simply different than what has been dealt with in the past years.
If your district chose not to change its minimum salary scale to reflect the pay increase last year, it is vital that your payroll and personnel records reflect which education professionals are on the correct scale. It might be a good idea to remind the payroll clerk of this and have that person record the current year's salaries because the pay increase was permanent. It will be easy to make the mistake of using the state minimum salary as the budgeting tool and to be off the amount of the pay increase for 2020.
Please check your federal allocations. We are hearing from some districts that their allocation lowered. This could require some adjustments in the federal programs. If I can help you with any of these issues, please let me know.
As we move to the halfway point of the legislative session we still don't know what's going to happen with the budget.
We at OPSRC pride ourselves on providing high-quality professional development for our member schools, and in the coming school year, our goal is to greatly increase the number of PD opportunities to which those teachers and leaders have access.