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School Board recommends pay increases for nurses, coaches, payroll staff

A human resources officer for the Williamson County School System made the case last week for the school board to increase significantly the pay of its in-school nursing staff.

“We have recently lost about six nurses, three of those were because of pay,” said Judith Looney, assistant superintendent for human resources. “We've been turned down several times because our salary is too low.”

Looney spoke to the school board during its monthly work session, which occurs prior to the body's regular meetings. She argued in a memo dated Nov. 8, to the school board that the problem typically is not in retaining quality health professionals, but hiring them because the starting salary is simply not competitive with other school systems in the area. 

“WCS is far below the market at the minimum, but comfortably above the market at the maximum,” she wrote. “As with many positions, the problem in WCS is getting employees in the door, not keeping those employees who have built longevity.

According to Looney, the median salary for registered nurses in the Franklin area is $61,298, and $38,529 for licensed practical nurses. WCS pay entry-level RNs about $21,000 and LPNs about $17,000 per year.

“In 2011 I did a comparative study, that our pay is not comparable at all at the entry level,” Looney told board members last week. “Once somebody gets some longevity, we do pretty well. That's because we don't have a cap.”

Looney made a similar case that the school system pays its payroll specialists below the averages both at the minimum and maximum levels.

“The Finance and Budget Department is experiencing a similar problem recruiting an experienced payroll specialist,” she wrote. “[An internal HR consultant] believes that if the hiring rate was raised … she would recruit a suitable candidate.”

Jack Daniels, who heads the schools' athletics programs, also recommended the board approve pay increases for several following athletic and non-athletic positions, and in two instances, create new positions:

Proposed athletics increases

Strength Coach 6.5% to 14%

Varsity Cheer, Football 3.5% to 5%

Varsity Cheer, Basketball         3.5% to 5%

Freshmen Football Coach         3.5% to 5%

Freshman Basketball Coach      3.5% to 5%

Add Winter Guard        $2,655

Add Drum Line            $2,655


The school board will likely consider these proposals at its Nov. 26, meeting.

Posted on: 11/21/2012


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