By Kevin M. Smith
Fulton is average when it comes to teacher pay.
Fulton Public Schools Superintendent Jacque Cowherd presented school board members a salary comparison during their meeting Wednesday evening.
Cowherd compared Fulton's salary schedule to other school districts in the North Central Missouri Conference.
He said this was to start the conversation on whether to adjust the salary schedule for the district.
"This is not something we have to do this year ... we have to keep it on the forefront," Cowherd told the board.
He said the administration was far from making any sort of proposal on salary schedule changes for certified staff.
Minimum salary for certified staff with just a bachelor's degree fell in the middle at $31,830, compared to other school districts like Boonville, Hannibal, Kirksville, Marshall, Mexico and Moberly. The highest teacher salary attainable is also near the midpoint at $57,110. The highest teacher salary amongst the conference schools is $58,030 at Hannibal - which also has by far the highest enrollment amongst the seven schools with 3,513 students, according to data provided by Cowherd. Boonville is the lowest with 1,524 students. Fulton has an enrollment of 2,120.
Cowherd said Fulton's overall average teacher salary of $38,470 is deceivingly low, pointing to the comparison of average years experience. He noted that several teachers have retired in recent years and younger, less-experienced teachers have been hired as replacements. Their entry-level salaries have brought down the average. The average years of teaching experience in Fulton Public Schools is 11.6, only Mexico and Moberly are lower with 11 and 10.2 years, respectively.
Cowherd also noted potential proposals to changes in the non-certified staff salary schedule in the future, but that's a complicated endeavor.
"It's just not as easy as working a couple spreadsheets," Cowherd said.
He also noted some areas, like trades such as carpentry, are much lower than the private sector.