On Monday, the Public Education Compensation Committee voted unanimously to recommend an increase in wages for school food service employees and paraprofessionals.
The increase for general workers, cooks, and food service managers would amount to a 2.5% increase in 2025, which is on top of the 3% increase from the general budget that is still being voted on in the legislature.
The Public Education Compensation Committee had discussed at its May 15 meeting the plan to increase pay for general workers, food service managers, and paraprofessionals’.
The 15-person committee was formed at the beginning of the school year to make recommendations to the state regarding pay in the education system.
The committee has recommended a $60,000 pay raise to teachers, phased in over four years, and voted on proposals that would give raises to custodians and secretaries.
For a general worker, they would go from $14.64 an hour, based on just the proposed general budget increase, to $15.01 an hour.
For lunch cooks, they would go from $15.53 an hour to $15.92 an hour.
For managers on the lowest level, serving less than 351 students, they would go from making $22,239 a year to $22,795 a year.
For managers at the highest level, serving more than 2,000 students, their salary would increase from $28,176 a year to $28,880.
The increase in wages would cost $1,771,234, $1.4 million for salary increases for cooks and general workers, and $280,854 for managers.
Rep. Kimberly Williams, D-Stanton, asked how the annual pay for managers stacks up to minimum wage, because $28,000 a year is less than minimum wage.
Charles Longfellow, chief financial officer at Christina School District, said in response that because managers are making minimum wage, they’re working 185 days out of the year, less than the standard 2,080 hours a year.
For paraprofessionals at the bottom of the pay scale, their salary would increase from $23,835 a year under the proposed 3% general budget increase to $24,073 a year.
For paraprofessionals at the top of their pay scale, their salary would increase from $33,577 a year to $33,913 a year.
For instructional paraprofessionals at the bottom of the pay scale, their salary would increase from $26,822 a year to $27,090 a year.
For instructional paraprofessionals at the top of their pay scale, their salary would increase from $37,991 a year to $38,371 a year.
In addition to the salary increase, the committee approved a $1,000 stipend for getting an associates degree or ParaPro certificate and a $2,000 stipend for getting a bachelor’s degree.
The cost of the salary increase is $1,367,086 and $1,729,500 for the stipends.
The committee also discussed recommending a salary increase for Delaware school bus drivers, who make $21 an hour.
A proposal before the committee would set a base rate of $25 an hour, up from the proposed $22.50 an hour increase under the 2024 fiscal year budget.
The $25 base rate could increase to $28.74 an hour for bus drivers at the top of their pay schedule.
The salary increase for bus drivers would cost the state $7,546,797.
The committee will vote on possibly recommending a pay increase for bus drivers at its August meeting.
Share this Post