Fayette County teachers say they can’t survive ‘crippling’ inflation, ask for 5% raise

·2 min read
Christian Tyler Randolph

Fayette County Public Schools employees on Monday asked the school board for at least a 5% raise, a request that’s growing across Kentucky.

According to media reports, staff in multiple districts have asked for raises in the last several days. The most recent school boards to approve them were Ludlow Independent, Pikeville Independent, Williamsburg Independent and Danville Independent.

Board chairman Tyler Murphy asked Superintendent Demetrus Liggins to bring a proposal next month for at least a 3% salary increase.

The Republican-led General Assembly did not approve Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear’s budget that included a 5% raise. Sara Green, representing the employee group Fayette County 120 United AFT, said instead, the General Assembly wanted raises given through small increases in per pupil state school funds.

Green said that a 3% pay increase is not enough to cover the “crippling costs” of inflation for the last 13 years.

Under a 3% increase, a teacher with 20 years of experience would only receive $200 more per month, she said. A new teacher in Fayette County would only receive $100.

Since 2008, Fayette County public schools has only seen a .4 increase in the average teacher salary while the rate of inflation has been 34%, Green said. Inflation increased about 8% in just the last year.

In requesting a raise, James Wallace, cafeteria manager at Lexington’s Bryan Station Middle School, asked board members to consider what it would be like if there were no child nutrition workers.

Green asked school board members to create a pay raise that would value school staff member’s effort and hard work.

“We have value and worth,” said Green. “This is a defining moment for Fayette County Public School.”

Murphy said the school board wants a fair and competitive pay structure “for incredibly talented employees.”

Board members have previously asked for salary studies and for a raise for employees. Murphy said they want employees to earn more money next year than they did this year and for every current employee to get at least a 3% increase on the base salary if feasible.

Murphy said Liggins said his staff can draft such a proposal.

Murphy did not immediately respond to the staff’s request for a 5% raise.

Green said Tuesday in an interview that the original proposal included a 2% raise and her group advocated for more and school board members are looking at a 3% raise now.

“We of course think that 5% is where we need to be at this time,” she said.

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