May 5 – JOHNSTOWN, Pa. – Incoming and current Conemaugh Valley School District support staff get a raise through a vote at a special meeting early Wednesday morning.
The school board unanimously approved new hires to start at a rate of $12 an hour, instead of the previous wage of $8.30, and granted non-teaching employees of Conemaugh Valley Education Support Professionals Association (CVESPA) an increase of $3.70 at all levels.
This increase affects several employees, such as cooks, cleaners, and building and grounds workers.
“It’s been harder and harder to find good people, even before COVID,” said business manager Eric Miller, “but as we went through COVID, it made that almost impossible.”
The idea behind the salary hike is to attract more people to the positions and hopefully have applications to consider by next week’s regular meeting while retaining employees already working for the district. said Superintendent Shane Hazenstab.
The action is an addition to the current contract between the district and CVESPA, which is still two years old, and would not affect the negotiated increases of five cents per year already in place for starting rates. These monetary increases were planned and included in the 2022-23 budget.
Miller said the issue is considered an expense, but one that the council feels is necessary to operate.
“We need to be able to keep our buildings and grounds clean and ready for students,” he said. “We have to be able to maintain our physical factory, and we have to have people to do that.”
In addition to the raise, the board also approved an employee referral incentive program.
Miller said if a district employee recommends a new support staff hire and that person stays and is active for three months, the referrer will receive an additional $50. At six months, the sponsor will receive $60 and at one year, he will receive $100.
“It will be interesting to see how it works out,” Miller said. “I think it’s worth a try.”
Other motions passed by the board on Wednesday included hiring Zachary Malfer, Carly Rager and Keli Williams as support staff at a rate of $12 an hour and Jamie Clawson as support staff and full-time caretaker at a rate of $12.95 per hour, with benefits as per the collective agreement.