CCS Board analyzes teacher salaries

by Jul 22, 2022NEWS ka-no-he-da0 comments


One Feather Staff


The Cherokee Central Schools Board of Education focused on teachers’ salaries to begin its meeting this Monday, July 18.

The Board had Howard Wahnetah and Ashford Smith in the meeting to discuss teacher pay following North Carolina Congress’s decision to increase teacher salaries statewide by 4.2 percent for the 2022-23 school year. The original budget that was approved last year planned for a 2.5 percent bump, but this updated pay increase was passed by both the North Carolina House and Senate on July 1.

Smith, of the Cherokee Boys Club, offered a salary analysis that compared teacher salaries for CCS, Jackson County Public Schools, Swain Public Schools, and the new state minimum. The numbers he provided showed that base salary for teachers is much higher for new and long-term teachers at CCS than the provided alternatives. Cherokee offers $10,000 more than the base North Carolina salary in a teacher’s first year of experience

The North Carolina base raise sparked a full discussion about teacher salaries and recruitment. Superintendent Michael Murray said that the market for teachers has taken hits over the last decade, and the pandemic caused a massive wave against the next group of teachers looking to step into roles.

“We’ve been doing more job recruiting. We’re going to job fairs more than we ever have. Because it’s going to be necessary more than ever as the pool gets smaller and smaller. If you look at all the colleges around and who they’re graduating, it’s going down every year. Those positions, you see folks retiring now. There’s a huge wave of retirement,” said Superintendent Murray.

He said that there needs to be a sense of urgency about recruiting teachers. Chairperson Jennifer Thompson said that it was going to be important to attract and retain young teachers who want to establish themselves for many years. Murray agreed and said that CCS needs to continue to find the best way to accommodate to a thinning list of names.

“This is the time. We have to be competitive if we’re going to make the gains that we need to make academically.”

The Cherokee Central Schools Board of Education focused on teachers’ salaries to begin its meeting this Monday, July 18. (JONAH LOSSIAH/One Feather photo)

Another financial concern that showed its head was the cost of covering school supplies for CCS classes, teachers, and students for the upcoming school year. There was some hesitation about the cost of offering supplies assistance, which Assistant Superintendent Beverly Payne quoted at $268,000 . Smith said that he would help investigate the numbers and see what funding sources could be used to cover that number, as well if there were any ways to reduce cost. Superintendent Murray said that they would make it a priority this week and that they wanted to get an answer to people as soon as possible.

The next guest at the meeting was Brett Robertson, who was there to discuss cameras and school security. He assured the Board that the is an active camera in each of the courtyards on campus. The only concern he offered was finding the best way to observe the buildings that have halted construction due to the discovery of water damage. Robertson said that due to the pause, he was finding ways to cover the building until things can progress. He also said that they are close to launching a security expansion on the CCS grounds. He said there would be a demonstration on campus soon that the Board could attend.

The Board then moved into unfinished business. There were several items held for closed session. The Board did approve a change to the job description for a teacher position that CCS is looking for. It’s for a automotive services instructor. Superintendent Murray said that they are trying to find an applicant that is qualified and has classroom experience, but that finding a good fit in the high-demand field has been difficult.

The consent agenda was unanimously passed with no amendments, putting forth the following:

  • Karla “Shaye” Gloyne approved as a Guidance Counselor at Cherokee Middle School.
  • Edward J. Obuchowski approved as a custodian.
  • Darren Buchanan approved as a custodian.
  • Rhonda Gass approved as a custodian.
  • Josh Schwarting approved as a seventh-grade science teacher.
  • Melissa Williams approved a cultural coordinator.
  • Tagan Crowe approved as an agricultural teacher.

The CCS Board finished the remainder of their discussion in a closed session to discuss personnel issues.

The Monday, July 18 meeting of the CCS Board of Education was called to order at 4:45 p.m. with Chairperson Jennifer Thompson; Co-Vice Chairs Tara Reed-Cooper and Melanie Lambert; Secretary Kristina Hyatt; Board members Berdie Toineeta and Regina Ledford Rosario; Superintendent Michael Murray; Assistant Superintendent Beverley Payne; CCS Attorney John Henning of Campbell Shatley, PLLC; and Administrative Assistant Terri Bradley all in attendance. HR Director Heather Driver and Tribal Council Rep. T.W. Saunooke were absent. Rep. Saunooke was at USET with the rest of Tribal Council.

The next meeting of the CCS Board of Education is set for Monday, Aug. 1 at 4:45 p.m. Meetings are being held in the Administrative Offices at Cherokee Central Schools. These meetings are open to the public unless there is a call for an executive session.