ROCK HILL, SC (WBTV) – When parents think of their child’s school, they may think of their teacher or an assistant and maybe even the school principal.
But what about a school counselor or a psychologist? Rock Hill Schools says these positions are essential, especially after the pandemic. So the district is trying to stay competitive to not only hire them, but also keep them.
After a two-year long study by a consulting firm, the Rock Hill School Board will listen to the data to find out how much the district will need to increase wages to stay competitive.
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The COVID-19 pandemic has brought many challenges to schools. Many are still there this year.
“We felt like this year was especially tough because everyone was back in the buildings,” says Lindsey Machak, PIO of Rock Hill Schools.
It was difficult inside the classroom of course, but outside too. School staff, such as psychologists and mental health counselors, have seen problems in students they had never seen before.
“They provide our children with resources that they might not get from a book. Or through a regular lesson. These are the people who are the crying shoulder that this student can go to. Or someone to talk to,” Machak says.
Machak says they recognize the importance of these staff members. So to keep them, they have to pay them.
“One thing we can say is that the money really talks at the end of the day. So we hope that a thorough review of how we compensate our employees will help us the next night on the playing field,” she explains.
A study presented at tonight’s board meeting will give board members the perspective they need to decide how much. During the two-year period, with a short break due to the pandemic, the company studied and organized a plan to make the district more competitive. The company found that some of the pay scales in the district were not competitive with other similar employment options. Essentially, the study indicates that salaries were below a midpoint range compared to others.
This way, the district can stay competitive while hiring and prevent those who are already working from going elsewhere. The board has the final vote.
“So it’s absolutely critical that we keep our therapist and our behavior managers on staff and that we’re excited to do the job because COVID has handed us so many different things that we didn’t see coming for those members of the staff and team members are absolutely essential for every day we have at school,” she says.
Teachers and school support staff like bus drivers and cafeteria workers already had a study in 2017, so they will not be included in this increase if it materializes.
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