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Amid competitive hiring environment, ESD invests in compensation

June 3, 2022


The Elizabeth School District Board of Directors last month boosted pay for all district employees based on a confluence of factors.

Licensed educators’ annual salaries for the 2022-2023 school year rose by an average of 6.97%, including increases for experience. The base pay for teachers under the new schedule will be $37,502, up from $30,000 in 2018. Classified staff – bus drivers, maintenance, custodial and office managers – received an average 7.83% increase. Paraprofessionals’ pay was increased an average of 10% as those positions are “incredibly hard to fill,” according to Superintendent Douglas Bissonette. Extra-duty pay for coaches was raised 12%, and administrators received a 5% increase.

At the May 23 board meeting, Bissonette said the district is seeing an unusually low number of candidates applying for positions to teach next school year – a concern for school districts statewide. He noted that the board’s approval of pay schedules in the May 9 meeting helps with recruitment and retention in a rural district that must compete with larger, neighboring districts.

Also among the district’s changes were adjustments to its classified salary schedules. Rather than one schedule for all classified staff, separate schedules were developed for several occupational groups including transportation, early childhood, facility and field maintenance, food service, IT, paraprofessionals, and school and district office staff. This will allow the district greater flexibility in each classification to be competitive with other districts.

The district is able to fund these ongoing increases as a result of three main factors:

  • Increasing enrollment in Elizabeth schools, which brings in additional funding based on the number of students being served.
  • The state legislature’s approval of increased per pupil funding in the School Finance Act.
  • A significant decrease in the Budget Stabilization Factor, which results in increased funding for school districts.