The Jefferson County Board of Education has approved pay raises for teachers and support staff while freezing the salaries of central and school-based administrative staff.

The board voted Monday night on Superintendent Donna Hargens’ recommendation not to increase administrative salaries, including principals and counselors. Teachers, bus drivers and clerks will receive a 1 percent raise, down from the 2.5 percent raise all staff received last year.

In the past decade raises have fluctuated for teachers, being as high as 5 percent and including lump sum payments, said Brent McKim, president of the Jefferson County Teacher's Association.

“Other years we’ve had one percent raises or two percent raises, so it’s really been all over the ball park,” he said.

The decision to freeze administrative salaries follows an audit showing some JCPS administrators are paid higher wages than peers in other districts. The JCPS board will also consider commissioning an audit to further investigate all salaries across the district, officials said.

In 1992 there was a similar pay freeze for administrators, while teachers received a 1 percent raise, according to data available to Cordelia Hardin, JCPS chief financial officer. 

The district will pay $5.5 million for the pay raises for one year, which Hardin said was already assumed into the budget.

“When I start the budget process I incorporate an estimate of what I believe the salary increases might be,” she said.

McKim said to keep teachers in public schools, districts must offer competitive pay.

“We get paid less but it’s somewhat made-up for with somewhat better retirement and pretty decent health insurance,” he said.