The Kyrene School District is using new state funding to invest in its most valuable resource: employees.
The District already approved a 3% increase for all employees for the current 2022-23 school year, plus an additional .65 cents per hour for employees in the lowest wage tier. Now, Kyrene is adding to those increases with an extra 4% pay raise for all teachers and administrators, and a $2.00 per-hour boost for all support staff. For many employees, that will be an increase of more than 10%.
Kyrene School District, like many organizations across the country, has faced staffing challenges in the face of the Great Recession, particularly among support staff, which include bus drivers, teaching assistants, office staff and other critical personnel.
“This past year has been one of the most challenging years for recruiting and retaining educational support professionals,” said Superintendent Laura Toenjes. “We know people want to work for school districts, where their time and skills are put to use in the service of children and the noble work of education. But we also know people are providing for families and need to earn a livable wage, so this increase will make our compensation package more competitive, not only with other educational organizations but with the private sector as well.”
The district has made employee compensation a top priority in its budget for years, but school districts are limited by available funding, and public schools in Arizona do not receive dedicated funding for annual employee compensation increases. The budget passed late last month by the Arizona Legislature provided a large enough increase in education funding for Kyrene to add to the pay increases it had already planned for this year.
“The additional funding from the state allows Kyrene to do something we have been wanting to do for some time, which is to lift up the salary schedules for our entire support staff,” said Chief Financial Officer Chris Herrmann. “We know that our employees have also felt the financial impact caused by inflation in their day-to-day lives. Each year, Kyrene raises the pay for a number of entry-level employees, to keep up with mandatory minimum wage increases. This new increase will ensure Kyrene employees continue to earn starting wages well above the minimum wage while providing additional compensation to offset the impact caused by inflation.”
The increase for teachers helps Kyrene to remain competitive in the face of a nationwide teacher shortage, which has finally reached the district’s door. For the first time in years, Kyrene is heading into a new school year still seeking middle school teachers and resource teachers.
To learn more about these openings and to benefit from Kyrene’s new pay boost, interested candidates can visit www.kyrene.org/careers.