THOMASVILLE — All teachers and administrators are paid for their degree level and years of experience, said Dr. Laine Reichert, Thomasville City School System superintendent.

Supplements are added depending on duties assigned — administrative, department chair, academic/class sponsor, coaching. 

The superintendent said teachers can move up on the salary schedule for years served until they reach a cap at 22 years and receive higher salaries for additional degrees in their area.

Benefits packages do not vary for the different position types, she said.

The state added a 2 percent salary increase to the teacher’s salary schedule two years ago, Reichert said.

“Many districts added contract reductions days (furlough) when the austerity reductions occurred, including Thomasville City. The district committed to eliminating the contract reduction days in 2014,” Reichert said.

Most of of the city school system’s salaries are funded through Quality Basic Education funding and local funding, Reichert said. Some positions are funded through federal dollars. special purpose local option sales tax cannot be used for salaries or benefits.

The decision to reduce the number of days in the working year was made unilaterally without exception. The only group that has not returned to a full calendar is the administrative and district staff.

“They still have their calendar years reduced by two days,” Reichert said.

About 6 percent of all salaries and benefits are compensated by federal dollars, she added.

“The decisions on which salaries are included are determined by the district comprehensive needs assessment, as well as the resource allocation formula,” Reichert said. “The positions have to consist of job duties that are allowable under federal rules and must have a direct impact on student achievement and students with disabilities.”

In the Thomas County School System, salaries range from $35,511 per year for an entry-level teacher with a bachelor’s degree to $77,931 per year for a thirty-year veteran teacher with a doctorate degree.

For teachers:

• Salary range with a bachelor’s degree: $35,511 (entry level) – $54,796 with 30 years.

• Salary range for teachers with a master’s degree: $40,726 (entry level) – $62,638 with 30 years.

• Salary range for teachers with an educational specialist degree: $45,922 (entry level) – $70,457 with 30 years.

• Salary ranges for teachers with a doctor’s degree $50,892 (entry level) – $77,931 with 30 years.

School administrative salaries range from $83,678 for an assistant elementary school principal to $120,048 for the high school principal.

Dr. Lisa Williams, Thomas County schools superintendent, said base salaries for all certified employees are based on the State Salary Schedule for Certified Educators. The state base schedule is based upon 190 days of work.

Local supplements are added to account for variations in the cost of living statewide.

Williams said base salaries are adjusted proportionately for administrators and others who work more than 190 days. For example, principals and assistant principals who work some or all of the summer preparing for the next school year receive additional pay based upon the number of work days included in their contracts.

According to Salary.com, the average teacher salary in Georgia as of September 2018, is $53,872. Salary ranges can vary widely depending on the school district and many other factors, including education, certification, additional skills and duties, and the number of years spent in the profession.

According to niche.com, the average teacher salary in America is $58,950.

All salaries in the Thomas County system are based on established salary schedules. 

“Employees who receive a satisfactory annual evaluation may advance on the experience schedule. Employees who do not receive satisfactory evaluations do not advance on the salary schedule. Each position is capped at the amount established in the salary schedule, plus supplements for additional duties,” she said.

Educators who obtain advanced degrees — masters, educational specialist and doctorate — may advance to a higher level on the salary schedule.

All certified employees in the Thomas County system have the same benefit packages.

Pay increase:

• 2009 – No raise

• 2010 – No raise in state base, local supplement totally eliminated because of state budget cuts, three furlough days without pay

• 2011 – No raise in state base, about 50 percent of local supplement restored, because furlough days without pay

• 2012 – No raise in state base, local supplement continued at the reduced 2011 level, eight furlough days without pay

• 2013 – No raise in state base, local supplement continued at the reduced 2011 level, six furlough days without pay

• 2014 – No raise in state base, local supplement continued at the reduced 2011 level, five furlough days without pay

• 2015 – No raise in state base, local supplement continued at the reduced 2011 level, three furlough days without pay

• 2016 – No raise in state base, local supplement continued at the reduced 2011 level – full work year restored

• 2017 – No raise in state base, local supplement increased 2 percent of state base pay

• 2018 –  Two percent increase in state base, local supplement continued at 2017 level

• 2019 – No raise in state base, local supplement continued at 2017 level

Williams said that since all positions participated in furlough days and reductions in local supplements, employees with higher daily rates of pay received larger net pay cuts, but the percentage reductions were fairly even across the district.

The base 190-day salary is funded primarily from state funds. A few positions, primarily special education positions, are paid from federal funds. Extended year (days beyond 190), local supplements and extra duty supplements are paid from local funds.

“District staff worked closely with school administrative staff to reduce the number of positions through attrition while targeting positions that would have the least impact on instruction,” Williams said. “A few positions were eliminated through a reduction-in-force process. When comparing pre-recession employment numbers to employment at the worst of the recession, the Thomas County School System shed more than 100 positions.”

Class sizes were increased, administrative positions were eliminated and support positions, such as instructional coaching positions, were phased out.

Williams said that as funding has begun to improve, the district is beginning to restore some of the positions that were cut. The district is adding back teaching and instructional staff to reduce class sizes closer to pre-recession levels and to add back instructional support positions.

The state-base portion of salaries Thomas County system is funded from state sources. About 4 percent of a beginning teacher’s salary is funded locally, while up to 40 percent of an administrator’s salary may be paid from local sources. The percent of salary paid from local funds can vary widely based upon extra duties an educator might be assigned, such as tutoring or coaching or the number of work days included in the contract.