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Local/Regional News

Fayette teachers poised for pay raise, as new middle school construction remains a question mark

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Josh James
/
WUKY

Fayette County school leaders voted to move forward with a 3% across-the-board pay raise Monday night, while discussions about a new Lexington middle school remain ongoing.

Local media outlets — including WUKY — had been under the impression the board might dig deeper into its proposed plans for a new middle school during the Monday night meeting, but the item turned out to be more of a minor procedural part of the agenda. And while discussions about the new middle school on Polo Club Boulevard continue, the public will have to wait longer to hear where that proposal stands.

The board had decided to postpone action on the new school last November over concerns about rising costs and an unstable market. Yet in the time since, the once $47 million project has grown into a $96 million dollar proposition, according to the Herald-Leader.

The board did, however, vote to move forward on a 3% raise for all school system employees. Back in May, the board took public comment on the issue. Speaker Andrea Welker said, in a time of staff shortages, the pay raise doesn't just effect employees.

"It becomes a detriment to our students when we don't have adequate staff and we don't have staff that's being adequately compensated."
Andrea Welker, speaker at Fayette County School Board meeting

Teachers had been hoping for up to a 5% raise amid continuing challenges presented by the pandemic, attacks on the profession, and rising inflation. In the state's largest school system, Jefferson County, school leaders voted for a 4% raise.

Local boards have been forced to make difficult decisions regarding pay after the General Assembly opted not to include mandatory teacher raises in the budget.