Two ways of measuring the pay to Hillsborough's ESE aides
Criticized for under-paying its exceptional student education aides, the Hillsborough County school district performed a salary survey.
What officials found was that Hillsborough pays its aides in the middle range of comparable Florida districts: $17,618 per year, less than Polk or Seminole County but more than Pasco or Volusia County.
That's a good bit higher than a Tampa Bay Times study, which put Hillsborough at slightly more than $14,000.
The district calculated its $17,618 average by taking the mid-point between the minimum hourly wage of $8.42 and the maximum wage of $15.55, then multiplying that number ($11.98) by the hours in the work day (7 1/2) and work days in the year (196.)
In other words: They used the average salary that the aides can potentially make. Calling around to other districts, they got a similar set of numbers.
The Times, however, examined payroll records of 762 employees in Hillsborough and nearly 9,000 around the state to see how much the employees actually earn. Using this method, Hillsborough wound up close to the bottom.
Here's the breakdown of salaries of the 762 employees in the Times study:
It was pointed out that length of service could affect our average. That's certainly true. If there is high turnover, workers will not earn as much money. Hillsborough also has many workers in this job who are considered temporary. They do not receive benefits, and that might be a factor in the turnover rate.
The good news is that the district is exploring creative ways to upgrade the job and create a career path that would increase pay as the workers get more training. There is even discussion of helping workers get the college courses they need to become ESE teachers.