The committee responsible for evaluating and adjusting the salary scales of Delaware’s educators to attract more to the state has solidified its recommendations.
At Monday’s Public Education Compensation Committee meeting, the 15-person group made of government and education leaders approved its final suggestions that it will submit to Gov. John Carney by Nov. 15 for consideration in his fiscal year 2025 recommended budget.
That budget will ultimately be voted on by the General Assembly.
The committee discussed and voted on salary considerations throughout the 2022-2023 school year.
It evaluated pay for each of the six education employee groups outlined in Delaware Code, and also tossed around the idea of adding an employee group by creating a state funding unit for information technology employees.
Here’s what the committee settled on as recommendations for each employee group:
- 1305 – teachers and professional staff: a 2% increase plus a $1,875 stipend (state cost = $212,658,997 over next four fiscal years).
- 1308 – secretaries: a 2+ increase plus a $500 stipend and condensing the scale from five positions to three (state cost = $1,407,799 for fiscal year 2025).
- 1311 – custodians: a 2% increase, stipends ranging from $439 to $1,105 and condensing the scale from six to four positions (state cost = $2,472,787 for fiscal year 2025).
- 1322 – food service: a 2.5% increase (state cost = $1,771,234 for fiscal year 2025).
- 1324 – paraprofessionals: a 1% increase and stipends ranging from $1,000 to $2,000 (state cost = $3,096,586 for fiscal year 2025).
- Bus drivers: Increase hourly wages from $22.50 per hour to $25 (state cost = $4,847,348).
- IT employees: created funding units for workers (state cost = $6,926,517 for fiscal year 2025).
The committee is proposing an updated pay scale for the 180 information technology workers in Delaware’s public schools.
Those workers are paid according to random salary scales, sometimes as an educator, custodian, paraprofessional or something else.
Because the state does not provide funding units for them, districts are left to decide how to fund those positions.
Mike Matthews, a special education teacher at Red Clay’s Cab Calloway School of the Arts, applauded the committee for recognizing IT workers as essential.
“I have had so many lessons go awry over the years because of either the lack of adequate technology or the lack of adequately functioning technology,” he said Monday night. “Having someone in our building on a regular basis, hopefully at some point every day, would be great for educators to have that system of support.”
Throughout last year, the committee had to weigh which employee groups demanded the most change. Teachers and bus drivers were a priority, as there’s a shortage of those employees in both the state and nationally.
Pressure to increase teacher pay also came from actions of neighboring states. Maryland recently passed legislation that would give teachers a starting salary of $60,000 by 2026.
There was also some banter throughout the committee’s meetings about balancing lofty recommendations with realistic outcomes, since all of the salary changes will alter the state budget and thus have to be worked through the Joint Finance Committee before taking effect.
Carney included a 3% raise for all educators in this year’s budget, as well as an additional 6% raise for classroom teachers.
The end goal of the committee: attract more educators to Delaware.
How the committee got to this point:
OCTOBER ‘22: State teachers’ union asks for base pay hike
Raised in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, Jarek earned a B.A. in journalism and a B.A. in political science from Temple University in 2021. After running CNN’s Michael Smerconish’s YouTube channel, Jarek became a reporter for the Bucks County Herald before joining Delaware LIVE News.
Jarek can be reached by email at [email protected] or by phone at (215) 450-9982. Follow him on Twitter @jarekrutz
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