Fayette County Board of Education talks employee pay raises, approves framework for strategic plan

The board asked Supt. Liggins to bring a revised pay structure for consideration next month in order to ensure that every current FCPS employee will earn more money next year

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – The Fayette County Board of Education at its Monday night meeting talked district employee pay raises and approved the framework for a strategic plan that will serve as a road map for the school system over the next five years following input from the public.

The board asked Superintendent Demetrus Liggins to bring a revised pay structure for consideration next month in order to ensure that every current FCPS employee will earn more money next year than they did this year, and provide every current FCPS employee with at least a 3 percent pay increase on their base salary.
“Over the past year, our board has repeatedly indicated a desire to ensure we have a fair and competitive pay structure for our incredibly talented employees. This was one of the driving forces behind commissioning a classified salary study last fall, and when we took that action we also requested a certified salary study be done as soon as feasible,” Murphy said. “During our budget retreat in February, we discussed a desire to implement the findings of the salary study when it was complete, and when each individual board member set priorities for the tentative budget, we requested that staff scrutinize the revenue forecast and maximize the raise we could provide for our employees.”
Liggins has said that since there is so much variation in hourly pay between individual employees, every current FCPS classified hourly employee will receive specific information about their proposed rate of pay for the next school year before the board adopts a salary schedule.
During the public comment section of the meeting, Fayette County teacher Sara Green was just one of the speakers who implored the board to approve at least a 5-percent pay raise for certified and classified employees.
The board unanimously approved a tentative 2022-23 budget.  The key word is “tentative.”  The final budget doesn’t have to be approved until September and has to go to the Kentucky Department of Education.  Board members were assured by school administrators changes can be made between now and next fall.
The board unanimously approved the framework for the school district’s five year strategic plan running through 2027.  The vote came following a summary from Supt. Liggins of the feedback of the draft plan received from the public online and in-person.
Supt. Liggins says the district received feedback from more than 1,000 FCPS students, employees, families and community members.

Fifty-three percent of the respondents identified themselves as a parent/caregiver/family member of a FCPS student and 25-percent were school employees, according to Supt. Liggins.

Main areas addressed included:  Student achievement; diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging; highly effective and culturally responsive workforce; stakeholder engagement and outreach; and organizational health and efficiency.

Some suggestions included higher pay increase for all employees; more money for extracurricular activities; stop bullying; address disciplinary disparities in the district; address mental and physical well-being and behavioral issues; minimize standardized testing; and visit families in their home instead of asking them to come to school.

At 7:30 p.m. the board went into executive session for 1:15 to talk about the superintendent evaluation.  When the board emerged from the closed session at 8:45 p.m., Board Chairman Tyler Murphy announced there wasn’t anything to report and the meeting was adjourned.

Below is the meeting summary from FCPS:

Under the Superintendent’s Report, board members heard from incoming Chief of Student Support Dedeeh Newbern and FCPS Police Chief Martin Schafer about how their departments collaborate to provide support for students in our schools.

The comprehensive approach in FCPS, coupled with community support for a dedicated revenue stream, and the school board’s investment in mental health professionals makes the district a national model. While national best practice guidelines recommend schools have at least one counselor/social worker/mental health professional for every 350 students, ratios in every FCPS school are better than one for every 250 students.

Newbern gave an overview of the services provided by counselors, social workers, and mental health professionals and spotlighted ways students can access support. She also celebrated the incredible talent among FCPS staff, noting that the state social worker of the year has been from Fayette County for three of the past four years and that FCPS has had both the Kentucky Association of School Counselors and Kentucky Department of Education’s top counselor the past two years.

Schafer explained that FCPS police officers prioritize building positive relationships with students and families, and train in partnership with the student support department to ensure officers have a trauma-informed and student-focused approach. Mentoring, coaching, and supporting academic success are all part of their role, he said.

One example is the Handle with Care program in which community emergency responders alert FCPS police when a student has been involved in a traumatic event outside of school so that school staff can respond appropriately. Officers are also trained on the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response curriculum created by the FBI to maximize safety in case of imminent danger.

As the police department has expanded to meet the requirements of state law, Schafer said his team looks for candidates with a special disposition. He shared a comment made by an officer who joined the district this school year. “He told me that he feels like he has done more for our community in the six months that he’s been here than in his prior 20 years as a patrol officer.”

View the full presentation here.

Chief Operating Officer Myron Thompson shared the May construction highlights. He noted that the Tates Creek High School construction project is moving forward and 88% of the work is complete. The new school is slated to open in July of 2022. Weekly construction updates on the Tates Creek High School project are available on the district website.

The board voted to:

  • Approve a framework for the 2022-27 FCPS Strategic Plan. Superintendent Liggins shared a summary of the feedbackon the draft plan received from more than 1,000 students, employees, families, and community members through an in-person listening session and online input form in six languages.
  • Revise the Student Code of Conduct for the 2022-23 school year.
  • Appoint Board Member Christy Morris, STEAM Academy Program Director Chris Flores, and community members Anissa Franklin, Ben Haydon, and Yajaira West to the Blue Grass Community Foundation committee.
  • Amend the Resolution to Create the Fayette County Public Education Foundation as a Component of Blue Grass Community Foundation.
  • Authorize the instructional fee schedule for the 2022-2023 school year.
  • Ratify contracts with:
  • Toshiba for districtwide copier services.
  • Education Epiphany to provide professional learning and support at Julius Marks, Russell Cave, and William Wells Brown elementary schools.
  • SchoolMint, Inc. to provide software to be utilized during the application process for our special and magnet programs.
  • The Close Up Foundation to provide an extended summer trip to Washington, D.C. for students served by the Migrant Education Program.
  • Update the Certified Evaluation Plan.
  • Create a Job Description for an Employee Social-Emotional, Mental Health, and Wellness Support Specialist.
  • Modify the 2021-2022 Salary Schedule to provide clarification about the rate of pay for summer programs.
  • Adopt the 2022-2023 Tentative Budget.
  • Accept the:
  • Pay Date Schedule for 2022-2023.
  • Tentative 2022-2023 School Activity Fund Budget.
  • Monthly Financial Report for April.

Board Member Stephanie Aschmann Spires invited the audience to observe a moment of silence and asked everyone in our community to pause to acknowledge the tragic deaths of Marie Haithcox, a first grader at Yates Elementary School, Deon Williams, a seventh grader at Winburn Middle School, and Skyler Williams, a preschool student at Mary Todd Elementary School. Our hearts remain with their families, their school communities, and all those touched by their passing.

Tonight’s board meeting also featured a performance by the Lansdowne Elementary chorus, which is made up of third, fourth, and fifth graders. Under the direction of Callie Manor, the students sang two songs — “La Paloma Se Fue” and “See You Again.”

Watch their performance here.

The school board’s action meetings are televised live on the FCPS YouTube channel. Meetings are archived through the FCPS YouTube channel and Video on Demand service.

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