TOP PHOTO: School board member and finance committee chair Josh James, right, said he was for everyone in the district making more money and for “fixing a broken pay scale.”

By Charlotte Underwood

JACKSBORO, TN (WLAF) – Principals, teachers and school staff packed the courtroom for Tuesday’s Campbell County Board of Education meeting, with the rate of pay for assistant principals and administrative staff topping the agenda.

An agenda addendum was added to also discuss a $1,425 (including benefits) raise for all teachers.

At an August 1st special called BOE Finance Committee meeting, school board member and finance committee chair Josh James brought up a proposal for a revised supplemental pay compensation scale for principals, assistant principals and administrative staff to get it more in line with other districts in the state.

“If we did this, it would cost us $174,000, including benefits, and the money would come from the capital outlay note,” James said.

At the beginning of the school board  meeting, Valley View Reading Interventionist Karen Hendricks addressed the board on behalf of teachers, saying the proposed compensation scale was “not fair to all.”

“We are not here to keep anyone from getting a raise; we just want to be guaranteed all of our educators be granted salary compensations,” Hendricks said.

She asked the board to put a “hold on the proposal and work together to find a solution fair and equitable to all.”

School board member Johnny Byrge, left, said he agreed, but the “timing was not right.”

Fifth district BOE member Steve Morgan announced he would not be voting for it.

“We’re suffering from cutbacks in my district; I don’t think this would be a wise way to spend that $180,000,” Morgan said.

James said he was for everyone in the district making more money, which is why he had added the addendum to discuss teacher raises as well.

He pointed out to the board that Anderson County pays their administrative staff $91,709, and that Campbell County was around $16,000 below average when it came to administrative pay.

“If we go with a $1,425 raise for teachers, that puts us in line with Anderson County on teacher pay as well,” James said.

School board member Johnny Byrge said he admired Mr. James for all the time and work he had put into it, but said he felt the “timing was wrong.”

“He’s right, but it all comes back to money. We don’t have the tax base that Anderson County does. I’m not against it, but I’m against the timing of it. It’s all in timing with me. And we also have a county commission that runs each year that won’t raise taxes and we would take this out of a debt service fund that we’d have to dip into and then next year, she’d have to come up with those funds. At this time, I can’t support it. Again, I’m not against raises, but it’s bad timing,” Byrge said.

According to James, the current scale used by Campbell County is outdated and not competitive enough to recruit principals and administrative staff.

The formula he used to calculate the compensation was student enrollment numbers.

James said when he started working on this, it wasn’t to give people a raise, but to “fix a broken pay scale that dated back to 1996.”

Morgan said he believed everyone on the board had the school district’s “best interest at heart” and that him not supporting it was “nothing personal.”

James asked if the board wanted to rescind the motion and send it back to the committee.

“If we do that, I would welcome with open arms any suggestions that will make it better. We can afford it; we have $8 million in our undesignated fund” James said.

Members of the Campbell County School board met Tuesday evening to discuss administrative pay scales, the director’s evaluation and other business.

Byrge said he didn’t want to “mislead the public” and that “those funds could not be used for re-occurring expenses.”

However, Byrge said he “would be for spending money on academics.”  At this, teachers in the courtroom erupted into applause.

Rather than rescind the motion, it was put to a vote, which failed with three in favor and seven voting no. James, BOE Chair Sharon Ridenour and BOE member Randy Heatherly voted in favor, while all others voted no.

James had added an addendum to the agenda regarding $1,425 raises for teachers, which would result in a cost of $550,000.

Morgan requested it be sent to the finance committee to be discussed further. In other business, the director of School’s Jennifer Fields evaluation report was also approved. (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 08/09/2023-6AM)

One Reply to “BOE votes down pay raises 7-3; approves director’s evaluation”

  1. I have no idea why we are hiring administrators from other counties, who will, undoubtedly, be disappointed with the pay rate, when we have a SURPLUS of highly qualified people working right in this county that would have no issues, whatsoever, with working within the framework of the current pay scale.

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