CONYERS, GA–Recognizing the increasingly competitive job market, Rockdale County Public Schools (RCPS) is poised to increase wages for hundreds of classified personnel such as bus drivers, paraprofessionals, and school nutrition personnel. This is in addition to significant, across-the-board step and salary increases already implemented at the start of the 2021-2022 school year through an adjusted certified salary schedule and step increases for all employees.
Effective Oct. 1, 2021, RCPS bus drivers and monitors, paraprofessionals and school nutrition personnel will see their salaries increase after Superintendent Terry Oatts directed the hikes in consultation with his Finance and Human Resources Divisions.
“Our bus drivers, paraprofessionals and school nutrition workers are at the tip of the spear when it comes to directly supporting our students by transporting them to school, providing them instructional assistance and support, and ensuring their food security,” said Oatts. “Many of our cafeteria staff and drivers have been working throughout the last couple of summers to prepare and deliver meals as well as during our virtual-only instruction last school year. Our paraprofessionals have been working hard alongside our teachers for many years at low wages, which has resulted in high attrition rates for our paraprofessionals as they have sought higher wages outside of education.”
The starting salary of new bus drivers (with no experience) is increasing from $16.63 to $18 an hour. Bus monitors will increase from $9.05 to $11 an hour. For bus drivers and monitors, each salary step increases by $0.20 an hour. School nutrition managers’ salaries will increase by $2,136 for the elementary level, $2,303 for the middle school level, and $2,469 for the high school level. Each step for this position increases by $500 a year. For school nutrition assistant managers, the starting salary will increase from $10.32 to $13.50 an hour and the remaining school nutrition staff will have starting salaries adjusted from $9 to $12 an hour. Each step on the pay scale for these positions increases by $0.20 an hour. For paraprofessionals, the adjustment will be from $9.05 to $13.16 an hour for starting salarries and each step increase will follow the Classified Pay Scale for a Grade 9. In addition, there will be $1,000 supplement pay for paraprofessional positions, which require personal care responsibilities.
School systems across the nation have grappled with unprecedented staff shortages in all these critical operational areas, making recruitment efforts a top priority. Increasing the wages of these classified employees will attract and retain world-class people in these critical roles.
“This pay increase will help us recruit these essential staff members to our schools as well as retain the high-performing, experienced and loyal staff members we have employed for many years in these positions,” said Kimberly McDermon, Chief Human Resources Officer for RCPS.
Officials said the salary adjustments for RCPS employees is the result of sound fiscal management over the last three-and-a-half years during which time the district’s fund balance and overall fiscal health have increased significantly.
“RCPS is in its best financial position which allows for these necessary salary adjustments,” said Chief Financial Officer Keith Hull. “It is a testament to sound fiscal oversight and management which has definitely been a team effort on behalf of our schools and departments.”