Angie Wheeless and nearly 20 others in teaching assistant and similar roles in the Attala County School District appealed to the school board at their September 3 meeting to receive $1,500 annual raises they say they were entitled to after state Senate bill 2770 passed, sending the funds necessary to do so out to the school districts. Similar raises had already been provided to teachers, but not to the assistants, she told the board.
“This isn’t just the teachers doing the teaching,” she told the board.
According to Superintendent Bryan Weaver, the funds were alloted by the state to bring teachers and teaching assistants up to a state minimum rate of pay. Since the assistants were already making $15,000, which is above the $14,000 state minimum, the board had the right to determine whether or not the raises should be provided.
“I don’t think we can justify what we pay them or pay the teachers, but budgeting and salaries will affect next year and the next superintendent,” he told the board. “We do have other positions to look at, as well, that are up this year.”
Those others who are up for potential raises this year and next include secretaries, bus drivers and maintenance workers.
In the end, the Attala County School Board agreed to give the assistants the raises funded by the legislature, bringing their pay from $15,000 to $16,500 annually.