Rock Hill Faculty board discussing elevating salaries, wages for college help employees, admin

ROCK HILL, SC (WBTV) – When parents think of their child’s school, they might think of their teacher or an assistant and maybe even the school’s principal.

But what about a school counselor or a psychologist? Rock Hill Schools says these positions are critical, especially after the pandemic. So the district is trying to stay competitive to not only hire them but also keep them.

After a long two-year study from a consulting firm, the Rock Hill School board will listen to data to find out just how much the district will need to increase salaries to stay competitive.

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The COVID-19 pandemic threw a lot of challenges at schools. Many are still around this year.

“We felt like this year was particularly hard because everyone was back in the buildings,” says Lindsey Machak, Rock Hill Schools PIO.

It has been hard inside the classroom of course, but outside of it as well. School staff like psychologists and mental health counselors saw problems in students they have never seen before.

“They’re providing resources to our children that they might not be getting from a book. Or through a regular lesson. These are the people who are the crying shoulder for that student to go to. Or someone for them to talk to,” says Machak.

Machak says they recognize how important these staff members are. So to keep them, they have to pay them.

”One thing that we can say is that money really talks at the end of the day. So we’re hoping that taking a hard look at how we are compensating our employees will help us in the next of evening the playing field,” she explains.

A study presented at tonight’s board meeting will give board members the perspective they need to decide just how much. Over the two-year period, with a short pause because of the pandemic, the firm studied and curated a plan to make the district more competitive. The firm found some of the district’s salary ranges were not competing with other similar employment options. Essentially, the study says the salaries were below a midpoint range compared to others.

So the district can stay competitive while hiring and keep the ones already working from going elsewhere. The board has the final vote.

”So it is absolutely critical that we keep our therapist and behavior managers on our staff and excited to do the work because COVID has handed us so many different things that we didn’t see coming that these staff members and team members are absolutely critical to every day that 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 bump if it goes through.

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