Superintendent To Seek Step Increase In Next Budget

NEWARK – The county’s new superintendent of schools reaffirmed his commitment to ensuring teachers are given the compensation they deserve at this week’s school board meeting.

During Tuesday’s meeting of the Worcester County Board of Education, Superintendent Lou Taylor said teachers would this month be receiving the mid-year step increase approved during the last budget process.

“I am proud to say that with the upcoming pay period we will take another large step to make our Worcester County teachers whole,” Taylor said. “With the next pay period eligible educators will be receiving the mid-year FY 11 step.”

With that restored, teachers will be just one step behind. According to Carrie Sterrs, coordinator of public relations and special programs for Worcester County schools, the salary freeze implemented throughout the school system in FY 10, FY 11 and FY12 meant the step increases — salary increases based on experience — typically provided to eligible teachers weren’t given.

“The salary freeze imposed meant that anyone who was employed during that time was a salary step behind where they should be,” Sterrs said.

The FY 10 step was restored during the middle of last year and the FY 11 step is being handled the same way.

“It was a very difficult task,” Taylor said. “It was a challenge but one worth undertaking.”

Taylor said Tuesday he was hoping to restore the FY 12 step during the coming year. He said he was going to try to do it without making cuts.

“We believe our teachers should be paid for the quality of education they’re producing each and every year,” Taylor said. “It is my hope to continue this trend and secure the funding to give our educators a final FY 12 step.”

The budget process for the coming year has already begun, with a school board budget work session set for Feb. 7. Taylor acknowledged finding the necessary funding for another step increase would be a challenge but one that he was willing to attempt.

“At Worcester County Public Schools our motto is ‘people make the difference,’” he said. “It’s time we honor our educators by keeping our promise to make them whole and do so without losing any positions in Worcester County.”

About The Author: Charlene Sharpe

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Charlene Sharpe has been with The Dispatch since 2014. A graduate of Stephen Decatur High School and the University of Richmond, she spent seven years with the Delmarva Media Group before joining the team at The Dispatch.