School pay criticized
For the second time in three years, state auditors have criticized the Pasco school district for failing to establish a differential pay plan for teachers and administrators.
A newly released 2012-13 operational audit reports that the district has not set up a process to identify employees who might qualify for added salary. State law requires school boards to "provide differentiated pay for both instructional personnel and school administrators based upon district-determined factors, including, but not limited to, additional responsibilities, school demographics, critical shortage areas, and level of job performance difficulties."
"(W)ithout a Board-established documented process for determining which instructional personnel are to receive differentiated pay, the District may be limited in its ability to demonstrate that the various differentiated pay factors are consistently considered and applied," the document states.
The same finding was listed in a 2009-10 audit report.
In his official response, superintendent Kurt Browning wrote that the district cannot unilaterally set compensation, including differentiated pay, because of collective bargaining rules.
"The District has properly negotiated additional compensation for teachers who take on additional responsibilities or who have been determined, through the collective bargaining process, to have a higher degree of job performance," Browning wrote.
He stated that the amounts and the process for determining eligibility are clearly put forth in the instructional master contract. He further noted that the district has negotiated recruitment and retention bonuses for teachers at the district's Differentiated Accountability schools, also outlined in the contract.
Finally, Browning wrote, the district and United School Employees of Pasco have not identified any employment areas requiring added pay because of critical shortages.
His response did not prompt the auditors to change their recommendation, though, that the district should set up processes to comply with the state requirement.