Jenkins board of education surprise faculty and staff with pay increase

Published: Jul. 26, 2021 at 6:21 PM EDT
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LETCHER COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) - The Jenkins Board of Education surprised all faculty and staff members at Jenkins Independent Schools with a three-percent pay increase for the 2021-22 school year and beyond.

The increase was discussed at a board meeting held in the Jenkins Middle-High School Library on July 14th. The decision was also approved in the hopes of competing with Letcher and Pike County schools, by incentivizing more people to apply in their district.

Superintendent Damian Johnson said with his position, it is all about the three most important factors for running a school, financially and instructionally.

“Third is culture and I feel like you can tell people that you appreciate them but when you put money in their pockets, you show that you appreciate them,” Johnson said.

Johnson said that they have already seen an increase in their hiring rate.

“We were able to attract a new principal,” Johnson said. “Someone with experience in principalship and in administration has come into us so, I believe that the pay raises play a part in that.”

Many of the teachers were shocked and excited when they heard the news.

“We have just went through the hardest teaching year of my entire career and I felt like we really deserved it,” Language Arts Teacher Taylor Newsome said.

This coming after many school districts had to experience a school year like no other.

“Between the pandemic, having to do virtual teaching, it’s been very hard and I feel like the three percent pay raise was very much earned,” Special Education Teacher Devin Newsome said.

Newsome said that while she was very appreciative, it is not the main focus of the job.

“Teachers really don’t do this because of the pay,” she said. “We do this because we love our students, and we love what we do.”

Newsome also said she has also noticed the number of workers coming in.

“We’ve had a lot of new staff members coming in and they’re all really excited because we’re actually getting paid more than both our neighboring districts,” Newsome said.

With the starting point coming soon, Newsome said that she is looking forward to the upcoming semester.

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