Ada teachers’ salaries will rise starting with the upcoming school year.

The Ada Board of Education voted 5-0 Monday to approve the salary schedule for certified employees for the 2018-19 school year, which reflects an estimated average raise of $6,000 per teacher. The new schedule also boosts the flexible benefit for major medical insurance by $286.32.

District officials who developed the new salary schedule worried that the state would not have enough money to cover the pay increases, since officials were uncertain about the future of the tax package that funded the raises, said Superintendent Mike Anderson.

“We were up in the air for a long time,” he said. “We were in limbo as to whether or not it was going to be fully funded, so we had all kinds of salary schedules to look at for a little while — some with partial funding, some with the 70 percent that we thought we’d get.

“But when the veto referendum went away, we went ahead and put the full raise in place.”

Anderson was referring to a protest petition circulated by the anti-tax group Oklahoma Taxpayers Unite!, which opposed the tax package that provided more funds for teacher pay raises and other areas of state spending. Oklahoma Taxpayers Unite! was hoping to put the tax package in front of voters in November, but the group abandoned its efforts after the Oklahoma Supreme Court rejected the petition as fatally flawed.

Pay raises

The new salary schedule spells out how much Ada’s teachers will be paid going forward, based on their years of experience and their level of education. The salary schedule covers everyone from brand-new teachers to those with 28 years of experience.

Under the new schedule, beginning teachers with a bachelor’s degree will be paid $38,054.77 per year — $1,453.77 higher than the state-mandated minimum salary of $36,601. Teachers with a bachelor’s degree and one year of experience will receive $38,543.88 a year, which is $1,508.88 higher than the state-mandated minimum salary of $37,035.

Teachers who have a bachelor’s degree and two years of experience under their belt will be paid $38,925.46 a year — $1,456.46 higher that the state’s minimum salary of $37,469.

Novice teachers with a master’s degree will be paid $39,535.09 a year, up $1,544.09 from the state-mandated minimum of $37,991. Teachers who have a master’s degree and one year of classroom experience will receive $39,916.67 per year — $1,491.67 higher than the state-mandated minimum of $38,425.

New teachers who have earned a doctorate will be paid $40,816.19 a year, an increase of $1,435.49 from the state’s required minimum of $39,381. Teachers with one year of experience and a doctorate will receive $41,251.83, up $1,436.83 from the state minimum of $39,815.

Board of Education member Todd Boone said Monday he would like to see the district do more for teachers who hold master’s degrees.

“I wish there was a way we could bump up the master’s,” he said.

Anderson said under the current schedule, there isn’t much difference in pay between teachers who have a bachelor’s degree and those with advanced degrees. He said someday, he would like to look at adopting a tiered salary schedule so teachers would receive a significant raise after five years with the district.

“If you get to 10 years of experience, we jump that step up and maybe even find a way to jump the masters’ and doctors’ starting place and stay with that,” Anderson said. “What we found when we were evaluating those schedules is that we’re fairly competitive at zero, one, two or three years. It’s when you get to five, 10, 15 and 20 that the difference occurs.”

Anderson said many school districts across the state pay only the state-mandated minimum salary for teachers, but Ada City Schools pays more than the minimum.

Eric Swanson is the City Hall and general assignment reporter for The Ada News. He spent 15 years working at the Dodge City Daily Globe in Dodge City, Kansas, before joining The Ada News’ staff in 2012.