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Seeing gap with other metro districts, DeKalb school board approves raises today

I haven't written much about teacher raises in the last few years that didn't involve the word "no," as in there will be no raises, no one is getting a raise or there's no money.

That appears to be changing.

Today, the DeKalb school board approved Superintendent Steve Green’s proposal to increase salaries for teachers, principals, and other certified school-based personnel.

The board also approved the first phase of a reorganization proposed by Green that includes a new human resources chief, now called chief human capital officer. Here is Leo T. Brown's résumé. He comes to DeKalb from Emory Healthcare.

In a statement, the district says the reorganization will create a "decentralized – flatter – organization that will be customer friendly. It will provide greater transparency, a quicker response, more accessibility and better communication. "

About the raises, the district said:

The Board approved an appropriation of $10.8 million for FY2016, or $21.5 million on an annualized basis, for the pay raises. Affected employees will experience the salary adjustments in the January 15, 2016, paycheck.  More than 8,700 employees including 6,000 teachers will receive the pay raises.

Based on an extensive analysis of five metro Atlanta school districts, not including Atlanta Public Schools, it was found that the District salary schedule was well below the metro average for teachers with 7-17 years of completed experience, which is also the experience range with the most teacher attrition.  These teachers will receive a pay raise that brings them to the metro average.  All other teachers will receive a two percent raise.

DeKalb Superintendent Steve Green on raises: "Our primary focus is improving the academic performance of students. With these salary adjustments we are making an investment in the quality of teaching and learning in our schools.”

High school principals will receive a five percent raise; principals in middle schools a three percent raise; and elementary school principals will receive a two percent raise.

Salaries for certified pre-K teachers will be added to the District teacher salary schedule and adjusted based on levels of experience and certification.  DeKalb certified pre-K teachers will become the only certified pre-K teachers in metro Atlanta on the same salary schedule as other teachers.

Other school-based instructional personnel who will receive pay raises include: media specialists, counselors, psychologists, lead teacher for Special Education, social workers, academic coaches, and instructional specialists.

Instructional paraprofessionals on Tier 6 and above on DeKalb’s paraprofessional salary schedule will receive a two percent pay raise.  Paraprofessionals on Tiers 1-5 will receive a one percent pay raise.

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Maureen Downey has written editorials and opinion pieces about local, state and federal education policy since the 1990s.