Schools look to change employee pay schedule

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By Dave Taylor

Carroll County school officials may change from the current 26 paydays per year to a 24 pay period schedule next year.

The district’s chief finance officer Jon Conrad informed school board members during Thursday’s meeting that the current pay schedule brings a hardship to district employees every fifth year.

“As a byproduct of paying 26 times a year every fifth year the employees need to go an additional week between the last paycheck in June and the first paycheck in July,” Conrad explained. “So instead of getting paid every two weeks every fifth year they would need to go an additional week between the last one of June to the first one in July and it trickles down to the teachers, too. It isn’t just the employees that work year-round. The teachers would also be waiting an additional week for the first check in July.”

Conrad said that if the payroll didn’t skip that additional week the district would have 27 pay periods in that fiscal year. The alternative, Conrad said, would be a 24 pay period schedule with payday being the first and the 15th of each month or the fifth and the 20th of each month. He has investigated how other school districts in the state handle payroll and found the majority pay on a 24 pay per fiscal year cycle.

Board member Mona Kindoll said it might be better to go to the 24 pay period schedule “then we wouldn’t have to every five years try to explain the situation to the employees. It’s the same money, it’s just paid out a little different.”

Fellow board member Tommy Unker said that regardless which way the district decides to go, “I’d just like to make sure everybody understands fully what’s happening. As far as the yearly salary nothing will change for anybody. They’ll make the same amount per year, they’ll just get a little bit more on each check.”

Conrad explained that with two less paydays in the year, each check would be about eight percent more per pay period than currently.

“I know that it is a financial hardship to a lot of our employees to go an additional week without getting paid,” Conrad said. “But this is an appropriate time because we still have several months until we’re in July. This is just a discussion topic requiring no action at this time. We could come back at a later meeting and take action.”

Superintendent Lisa James said the switch to a 24 pay period schedule will be included on the consent agenda for the Feb. 24 board meeting. “That will give us time to further explain what we’re doing for our employees,” she said.