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North County raises starting teacher, substitute teacher pay

The North County School Board at its July meeting raised substitute teacher pay – for the first time since 2015. Board members also heard about a grant the district received for salaries, and awarded bids for playground equipment and a new scoreboard at the high school.

District Superintendent Katie Bockman said the substitute teacher pay rates that had been in effect for the last seven years were $75 a day for substitute teachers who held no degree, and $80 a day for those who held a bachelor’s degree or higher. Board members unanimously raised by $10 the pay for each of the two rates, so it’s now $85 each day for substitute teachers without a degree and $90 each day for those with a bachelor’s degree or higher.

The district was also awarded a Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) baseline salary grant. Missouri’s FY23 budget includes $21.8 million for the new program designed to increase teacher salaries in K-12 schools across the state, since the Show-Me State ranks among the lowest in the U.S. for baseline teacher salaries.

“It means that, because we raised our salaries for beginning teachers to $38,000, the state of Missouri will pay us $15,500 towards that,” Bockman said.

According to a DESE news release, any district that had teachers making between $25,000 and $38,000 were eligible but not required to apply, and it was estimated the grant opportunity could impact 12% of teachers statewide. The state minimum salary requirements in Section 163.172, RS.Mo. have not changed because of this new grant program, the news release said. The grant program is subject to appropriation.

Children’s Specialties was awarded the contract for district playground equipment. The $700,000 price tag will be paid from money collected from the Proposition S bond issue that voters passed in June 2020 that kept the taxes the same but would raise $13.5 million for safety improvements.

A bid has been awarded to digital scoreboards, which will be paid for by sponsorships. Bockman said she and Athletic Director Jimmy Palmer have already secured anchor sponsors for the new scoreboards, so no district money will be spent on the replacement.

The assistant superintendents Dr. Lori Lamb and Dr. Brandon Gregory also gave reports.

Lamb thanked board members for welcoming her as assistant superintendent, filling the vacancy left by Jason Samples, who has become superintendent of Valley R-6. Lamb comes to the district after having worked as assistant principal for Farmington R-7 for seven years. She worked at North County previous to that, as an assistant principal in the primary school.

Lamb reported she had been contacted by a member of the Cantwell Baptist Church in Desloge. The church sponsors the school’s Backpack Program and asked if there were other possible opportunities to help with district programs. Lamb said she also recently met with leaders of the Professional Development Committee to discuss the Wellness Fair to be held on Aug. 16 for the district staff members.

“We have had a great response for sponsorship from our local community members and business leaders, and are still looking for additional sponsors for informational booths and giveaways,” Lamb reported.

Gregory announced many athletic practices that were ongoing this summer. He also said he is settling into duties with the Transportation Department, a field formerly overseen by Samples. Gregory said he was pleased to announce the district is currently training bus drivers and is also seeing other experienced drivers applying.

North County Assistant Principal Dr. Brandon Gregory reports that the district should have enough trained and seasoned drivers when the school year begins Aug. 22. Districts everywhere are scrambling to fill the transportation positions.

North County Assistant Principal Dr. Brandon Gregory reports that the district should have enough trained and seasoned drivers when the school year begins Aug. 22. Districts everywhere are scrambling to fill the transportation positions.

Sarah Haas is the assistant editor for the Daily Journal. She can be reached at 573-518-3617 or shaas@dailyjournalonline.com.

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