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By John Dowd 

TF School Board reviews salary schedule


September 17, 2020

The Thompson Falls School Board is working on a new salary schedule for their administration. The new schedule will decide how much and how often the administrative employees’ salaries will increase over the years. According to Superintendent Bud Scully, who has been working on the proposal, “it is normal to have a salary schedule for all employees, and all of the other staff already have a salary schedule at Thompson Falls, however the administration does not.” Scully has been researching pay rates for similar schools, however, is having difficulty because there are not many comparable options.

A salary schedule is meant to give prospective employees an idea of what they will be making every year, something to look forward to, and is something used to keep good employees around, according to Scully. “It gives a light at the end of the tunnel for staff members,” said Scully. The way an employee’s pay will increase incrementally – depending on experience, time worked, and education – is explained through a salary schedule. Currently the school has no schedule for several administrative positions, including the new business manager, technology coordinator and the head of maintenance. The new pay schedules are expected to help retain some of these positions, especially the business manager position which has changed hands several times, according to Scully. Currently the position has been taken over by the former high school secretary. Scully said the position is extremely difficult, even to someone who has a lot of experience in business. “School finances are very different than even regular business,” Scully added. “You have to learn a whole new system even if you have a degree in accounting.

“Typically, teachers will receive a bump in pay every year,” said Scully. Scully also says that these salary schedules are public information and can be found on the school’s website, however, the administration salary schedule has yet to be approved and so cannot yet be found online. This schedule will also affect the pay of principals, and the school board is thinking about bumping the elementary principal’s pay up to $80,000, equivalent to that of the new high school principal’s rate.

The pay schedule has been tabled by the school board for two months. This was done in order to give Scully more time to investigate and lay out perspective pay schedules.

Another item the school board has been working on is the way students are counted at the school. Traditionally, a cap of only 25% of out-of-district students can be counted among the school’s Average Number Belonging (ANB). This number is counted every month and every year and put into a mathematical formula to determine the amount of funding that a school will receive from state and federal agencies.

Scully said the Thompson Falls budget is around $5.4 million. This is money that can be used to keep programs going as well as to pay for teachers and basic operations of the school. With the coronavirus outbreak and a new online teaching service, other private schools such as therapeutic group homes are reaching out to use the same service created by Thompson Falls. The original 25% cap was self-elected by the school board, Scully said. This cap has now been waived to allow additional out-of-district and group home students to use the online service. This increases the ANB count to increase available funding for Thompson Falls next year. According to Scully, the count has jumped up to 32% out-of-district since the change in policy. Scully said that this should help maintain many of the programs offered by the school, since Thompson Falls has had declining enrollment in the last few years.


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