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DD2 Budget Committee Considers TA Pay Rates; Acknowledges Training Flaw Related To Guns

Dorchester County, S.C. - Teacher Assistants (TA) are likely to receive a starting daily pay rate of $120 less the 4% increase other staff are projected to receive in the DD2 draft FY24 budget. The meeting was attended by all Board members except Barbara Crosby.

The Budget Committee met May 25 to consider an increase to the daily TA pay scale. Justin Farnsworth noted that "a lot of feedback was received" on the TA positions. The Committee attempted to compare the starting TA daily rate of $105.65 but who also received benefits to the $125 flat rate daily pay for substitutes who received no health insurance.

Based on Committee charts, the value of benefits varied from 61.7% to 101% of the daily rate for TAs depending on the level of insurance coverage. Substitutes do not receive benefits. See: DD2Unwrapped for the charts.

Kellie Bates felt TAs were the most comparable to Adult Support staff because both groups receive benefits. An increase from $90 to $120 in the daily pay rate for Adult Support staff is proposed in the FY24 budget.

She noted that TAs work more days than Adult Support, have a little more training requirements, handle a full classroom of students and are assigned extra school duties and they are not going to reach the $120 rate until Year 8 on their scale. Staff explained that Adult Support are assigned to a specific special needs child to assist that particular child during the day.

Turning to training, Cynthia Powell then asked about whether substitute training includes security measures on what substitutes do when a gun is found in a classroom. "I've had teachers tell me that they need to know what to do," she said.

Gail Hughes acknowledged that she has "had the same thing come up, but they don't know what to do when it's actually in their classroom." She continued "they're trained on what to do outside of their classroom and how to protect their students, but they don't know what to do if it's found in their classroom."

Ms. Bates said she heard the same thing. Mr. Farnsworth asked Dr. Robbins to take that matter under advisement as he tried to close the meeting. Ms. Powell then noted that the nurses were also concerned about their pay and staff gave a presentation on that topic. No resolution was reached about the nurses.

Finally, Dr. Robbins proposed discussing in Executive Session to follow the upcoming May 30 staff retirement dinner the hiring of 2 principals and another administrator.

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