A well-deserved and prudent raise

Coweta County School System employees should be a little happier this morning after the Board of Education restored one paid teacher day and a step increase for all classified personnel.

Those actions were included in the draft 2015 budget proposal, which was approved Tuesday night. The official budget will be voted on later this summer.

Classified employees – such as secretaries, bus drivers and teacher assistants – haven’t seen a raise in five years. Teachers and others who work more than 180 days will get back one of the calendar reduction days they lost a few years back, when the economy tanked and serious belt-tightening measures took effect.

The increases are due to a $4.1 million increase in funding from the state.

It’s been a long time for these employees who have faced unpaid work days and/or no raises for years. And it’s good to see the school board recognize this and act accordingly as additional funds became available.

We are also heartened to see the school board take a very conservative approach with these increases. We fully believe teachers and support staff should be well paid. They are, after all, educating the future leaders of this community and country. It is a noble profession.

Yet, oftentimes, the money simply isn’t there. As School Superintendent Dr. Steve Barker said, “It would be great to be able to do more. But, right now, in light of what we are looking at, I think it’s a very responsible approach for all of us to take.”

We agree. As Barker pointed out, there’s no assurance the money will be available next year. “This is by far the most responsible way we think we can touch all our employees and wisely use those funds,” he said during the budget discussion.

Hopefully, funding will be available next year and additional raises can be distributed. But at least employees are getting something, something that is well-deserved.

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