The budget includes a proposed 5 percent salary increase for both certified and non-certified staff.
The Wright City R-II Board of Education is slated to vote later this month on a budget proposal that includes salary increases for teachers and staff in the district.
R-II Superintendent Dr. Chris Berger presented his proposed fiscal year 2024 budget to the board during last week’s budget workshop. The budget includes a proposed 5 percent salary increase for both certified and non-certified staff. Berger is also proposing allocating an additional $800 to those on year 20 or higher on the salary schedule.
“In the EMO (Eastern Missouri Conference), often no matter what the job is, we’re going to be number one,” Berger said. “But going east, with those urban, suburban schools, on the front of our salary schedule, we are really, really good. We’re really competitive. In fact, we’re better than most. But the farther you go into the salary schedule, we find problems. And we start falling behind.”
Berger noted the last couple years, the district put money at the back of the salary schedule to try to close the gap. The district allocated $500 for fiscal year 2023 to go towards the back of the salary schedule. They increased salaries for all staff 4 percent for fiscal year 2023.
Berger is also suggesting increases in athletic stipends for coaches at the high school and middle school. Berger is proposing a 2 percent increase for high school coaches and a 1 percent increase for middle school coaches to the current year’s base pay. The increase also applies to co-curricular staff. With increases in personal property assessed value and growth from new construction, the district knew they would have more resources than in the previous year. After analyzing a comparison group of 13 school districts, the proposal is for the 2 percent and 1 percent increases.
“We don’t ever feel like we have to be number one,” Berger said. “But certainly with essentially any credible comparison group that we pull together, we do feel like we need to be in the top third. And so that was kind of making that step to try to get to the top third of that group. We did that in most of those categories of that comp group.”
The fiscal year 2024 preliminary proposal also allocates over $500,000 in staffing increases. The cost covers the additions of a librarian and interventionist and assistant principal and interventionist positions at East Elementary, a STEM teacher and fourth grade teacher at West Elementary, a high school ELL teacher and a high school and middle school P.E. teacher. The fourth grade teacher at West Elementary was already in place in fiscal year 2023 but was not part of the initial budget.
Berger stressed he believes the district is in a good financial position heading into fiscal year 2024. He credited previous boards and administration before his arrival for doing a vigilant job to prepare for the growth Wright City was waiting a long time for along the I-70 corridor and sitting next to the Wentzville School District, which Berger characterized as the fastest growing school district in Missouri.
“That in combination with what we’ve experienced in the last three years with healthy assessed value growth has put us in a really good position for what’s coming,” Berger said. “And we have some challenges coming, no doubt. Because anytime that you’re forecasted to take on the growth that we are over the next five to 10 years, you’re just going to have challenges. But I really think financially, we are in a really good position to take on those challenges.”
The Wright City R-II Board of Education is slated to vote June 29 on the fiscal year 2024 budget proposal.