R-3 OKs salary increases

The Platte County R-3 Board of Education approved salary increases ranging from 1.5 to 5.12 percent during last week’s meeting, the first time in superintendent Dr. Michael Reik’s tenure that both scheduled increases for experience and base salary were granted.In material presented to those in attendance, the added pay was cited as in line with the district’s goals to attract, retain and develop a high quality staff. Since Reik became the district’s fifth superintendent ahead of the 2009-10 school year, salary increases have been lean, including one year of a salary freeze. The others included only increases in base pay for most school employees. The increases were passed with a 6-0 vote. Board member Brandon Gutshall was absent. “This is the most considerable increase that I’ve been able to give since I’ve been superintendent,” Reik said. “Coming off of 10 years consecutively where we had salary increases in the 4, 5, 6, 7 percent increase range, that has not been the case since I’ve been superintendent. “I think it will be received positively given the last five years. There certainly will be people who expected more.” Prior to the board vote, Kirby Holden expressed some concerns over the planned salary increases. A patron with two students currently in the district, he pointed out that Platte County ranked fifth out of 13 districts in a list of average teacher salaries but claimed his research showed R-3 in the top 10 percent of 79 Kansas City Metro area districts. Holden detailed his belief that experience and upper-level degrees were the best justification for a higher salary average, yet Platte County High School lagged behind slightly in both areas, according to the most recent data from the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). Costs on personnel have risen in recent years despite the lean budget increases with help from an expanding staff that will include 17 new full-time positions for the 2014-2015 school year. According to DESE, Platte County’s enrollment went up by about 400 students between 2010 and 2013, while student-to-teacher ratios have remained at 14-to-1 or 15-to-1 each of those years — numbers more than the state-wide average of 13-to-1.

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