Board of Education to reverse hourly wages for parent educators back to salaries
COLUMBIA - The Columbia Board of Education Monday night voted in favor of reversing its decision last month to make parent educators hourly employees.
Parent educators work for the Parents As Teachers program. They visit homes and help teach young children who are not yet enrolled in elementary school.
After recent changes to the U.S. Department of Labor, November’s decision caused the collective bargaining agreement to infringe on a federal law set by the Fair Labor Standards Act.
With the reversal, the current collective bargaining agreement avoids any current issues with federal law now that the hourly wage scale is repealed.
Dr. Dana Clippard, CPS deputy superintendent, said in terms of pay it should still be relatively the same for parent educators.
"They will continue to receive their monthly salaries vs. having to be paid hourly," Clippard said. "Our compensation goal was to convert annual salary to hourly and maintain their wages."
One of the issues behind the initial change was due to overtime pay regulations.
Before a federal judge issued an injunction on those regulations, educators would have increased the salary to qualify for overtime exemption by more than double the weekly pay (from $455 to $913). For CPS, parent educators would not have qualified for exemption to the new rule, like CPS teachers would have.
The weekly pay would have affected CPS’s 19 parent educators. The educators would have made a minimum wage of almost $20 per hour, and those with a master’s degree would have qualified for over $22 per hour.
Clippard said the immediate goal is tp comply with all rules and regulations and to help parent educators as best as possible.
“[The goal] is to continue to value the program, support the employees and compensate them competitively," she said. "How that’s done and achieved either hourly or salary is really a decision of the courts.”
She added there is no time frame set yet for the national courts' awaited decision to follow after the injunction.