All Lewis-Palmer School District 38 employees will receive a compensation increase after a unanimous yes vote on a mid-year budget proposal by the Board of Education on Jan. 24. Heading into the 2021-2022 school year, Superintendent KC Somers led the Lewis-Palmer School District 38 Executive Team on a listening tour of all school buildings to gather feedback. After hearing from hundreds of staff members, it became clear that compensation was a top focus.
Having heard that feedback, the executive leadership team set to work on creating a mid-year proposal at the conclusion of the district’s audit. The proposal called for all employees to receive a pay increase, with most employees receiving a mid-year step on their salary schedules.
Board of Education President Chris Taylor commended the positive momentum on behalf of staff members, but questioned if the move addresses a longer-term concern around ensuring D38 remains a competitive school district in terms of its compensation package.
“We’re restoring the freeze from the beginning of COVID-19. We’ve just restored something, and at the same time, this doesn’t address any compensation adjustments that would be designed to make us compatible or comparable with surrounding school districts,” Taylor said.
Dr. Somers called the move necessary and pointed to future efforts to help improve compensation. Work is already underway on a compensation market analysis with the goal of completing and circulating the results in March. This work will yield a customized salary gap analysis against several peer districts and corresponding recommendations. Following the analysis, a community-wide survey is being developed, and a new budgeting tool will soon be rolled out to help communicate budgeting challenges with all district stakeholders and gather additional feedback.
As work continues on longer-term solutions, staff can look forward to an immediate impact from the mid-year adjustment.
“This is not an end-all solution to our compensation issues, but it is a step in the right direction,” Dr. Somers said. “We will continue to work day-in and day-out to create innovative solutions on behalf of the caring, competent and committed staff of D38 who nurture every student, every day.”
Dr. Somers thanked both the Human Resources and Finance/Payroll teams for their diligent work on implementing these changes for the more than 750 D38 employees. Staff members can expect to see the changes roll out during the month of February.