School Committee Discusses Salary Freeze

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COLUMBIA - The Columbia Public Schools district policy committee will meet Monday evening to discuss possible changes to the pay grade of teachers in the district. 

Currently, any teacher who has been with Columbia Public Schools since the 2009-2010 school year would receive less money than a newly-hired teacher.

The meeting will focus on solutions to the problem from a policy perspective. 

According to board member Jonathan Sessions, the Columbia Public Schools revenue is decreasing while the operating budget grows.

"When we talk about the easy solution to this being fix the step, fix the frozen step, it's hard to consider those kinds of things when there is not money to do so," Sessions said. "We have to make sure we can pay all the bills." 

Columbia Public Schools enacted "frozen step" salary freezes in 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 during the economic recession.

Teachers were able to recover one frozen step from collective bargaining last year, but still are one step behind the more recent hires. 

The policy meeting will focus on trying to solve this remaining step by looking at the frozen step policy and trying to reword or restructure the policy. 

"What's going to be more of a focus on here is this policy that when this other thing is going on creates an inequity in the system and can we resolve that," Sessions said. "[We'll address] How can we save this from happening and create a way that it doesn't happen in the future."

The meeting takes place at 4:30 p.m. at the school board administration building. 

[This story has been updated for clarity.]