• 66°

Teachers take reduction in pay

The 2011-2012 school year officially began for Demopolis City Schools Thursday with Institute, the system’s annual teacher inservice. A number of educators present at the event were taken aback when learning they will undergo somewhat of a pay decrease in October.

“The retirement contribution in the state of Alabama is increasing from five percent to 7.25 percent,” Demopolis City Schools Superintendent Dr. Al Griffin said of the slight change in pay structure that will see faculty and staff statewide receive 2.25 percent less of their salary just prior to Nov. 1. “The punch will be felt Oct. 31 in the October payroll.”

Statewide school system employees will feel another slight crunch in 2012 when more of their salary is siphoned off toward retirement.

“Next October, another .25 percent will come out to make it an even 2.5 percent,” Griffin said.

Griffin pointed out he feels as though the money educators will not be seeing in their checks this year will actually be money lost.

“In addition to all the cuts we’ve had to do, they are hitting the pocketbook of educators,” Griffin said. “I’d say it’s money lost because your retirement you’ll get in the end is still based on the same percentages.”

Given the significant cuts Demopolis City Schools suffered in May along with the loss of salary, Griffin has found it difficult to keep employee morale high.

“I find it difficult as an educational leader,” Griffin said. “It’s all we can do to keep the morale up.”

The second-year superintendent believes the loss of salary to one of Demopolis’ largest workforces will have residual effects as well.

“It’s gong to affect our tax revenues in town,” Griffin said. “People have less to spend.”

Griffin also instructed DCS employees to follow the next legislative session in an effort to stay informed about changes facing educators.

“I encouraged the staff at Institute to aggressively monitor and follow the legislative session starting in Feb. 2012 as it occurs,” Griffin said.

Despite the bleakness, Griffin feels teachers at DCS have a great deal about which to be excited as the 2011-2012 school year begins.

“We made AYP,” he said. “We have a lot to celebrate. We grew a lot last year in a lot of areas. I am going to ask them to continue to drive that growth forward.”