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Pay hikes approved by FWCS

Nurses, nonteaching staff will get 2% boost, stipends

FWCS board members Monday approved a 2 percent salary increase for the district’s nurses and classified employees for the 2013-14 school year and $1 million in stipends for nonteaching employees.

Classified employees include nonteaching employees such as cafeteria and transportation workers, classroom assistants and media clerks, according to Kathy Friend, chief financial officer for FWCS.

Classified employees and nurses will also receive a 2 percent salary increase for the 2014-15 school year.

The $1 million in stipends will be split between the district’s employees, ranging from $250 to $2,500. Nurses and classified employees will receive a $500 stipend.

The money for the stipends will be paid from the district’s general fund – or whichever fund the employee’s salary is paid from, Friend said.

“That $1 million had been set aside for some sort of compensation,” she said. “But it wasn’t until now that we knew where it would be going.”

The board also approved a change to reduce insurance subsidies to 82 percent next year and 80 percent in 2015.

Compensation and benefits for all other employees will be determined within bargaining agreements, school officials said.

“Our employees cannot be thanked enough. They get it. They are with us,” Superintendent Wendy Robinson said. “Obviously, if we could do more, we would.”

The pay increases and stipends come after the district’s decision to cut back hours for part-time workers rather than provide them with health insurance as mandated by impending federal regulations. In May, the district reduced the hours of 610 part-time workers to 25 hours a week.

Beginning next January, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will require employers with at least 50 full-time employees to offer health insurance to employees who work at least 30 hours a week.

Offering the health insurance to the district’s 840 part-time workers – the total number of part-time employees the district had prior to the cuts – would have cost $10 million, Friend said.

Board OKs budgets

Also Monday, the board approved the proposed 2014 budgets for the three-year Capital Projects Plan, the 2014 levies and the Bus Replacement Plan.

A public hearing was held this month.

The $275 million budget plan is 0.2 percent more than the 2013 budget, Friend said.

The owner of a $100,000 home would pay a maximum of $9 more in property taxes in 2014, Friend said. The increase could be as low as $2, she estimated.