Teachers, Other State Workers Should Temper Raise Expectations

With all the talk about pay raises being included in the 2015 state budget, state employees and teachers are already counting the extra money.  Unfortunately for many teachers and state employees the celebration is premature.

To be sure, the governor’s proposal does include money for salary adjustments for state employees, Board of Regents staff and K-12. But the increase is probably not enough for every state employee and teacher to receive even a token pay raise.

State employees and teachers have gone without base salary cost-of-living increases for five years. Inflation was more than 9 percent during that time, while state employees and teachers were hit with hikes in health insurance premiums of about 10 percent from 2010 to 2012 and about 7.5 percent in 2013.

The proposed 2015 budget includes the equivalent of a one percent salary increase for employees in the executive, judicial and legislative branches, as well as the Board of Regents.  This money is for merit-based increases for high performing employees, for salary adjustments needed to attract new employees with critical job skills or to retain successful performers in jobs critical to the agency’s mission.

The money is not for across-the-board salary increases for all employees. Each state agency will define “merit” and set spending standards for recruitment and retention efforts.

This implies some state employees could receive a base salary increase of greater than 1 percent, some may receive a 1 percent increase and many will not get any increase. The decisions will be made by the individual state agencies.

Money is also included for salary adjustments for specific job classifications within the departments of Agriculture, Banking and Finance, Corrections, Juvenile Justice, and Law to retain employees in vital health and safety occupations.

Will K-12 teachers receive a base salary cost-of-living increase? The answer is complicated. Although money is included in the proposed 2015 budget for seniority-based teacher step increases, there is no dedicated source for base salary cost-of-living increases. The governor included $314 million in the Department of Education’s 2015 budget to offset a portion of the $1 billion austerity cut and provide local school districts the flexibility to reduce or eliminate furlough days, increase instructional days, or provide salary increases to teachers.

Since more than 70 percent of school districts have cut the school calendar and 80 percent are furloughing teachers, it is likely that the great majority of the money will be used to assure a full academic calendar, rather than for local salary supplements.

Salary increases for those state employees and teachers lucky enough to get them will be relatively modest. Many deserving state employees and teachers will toil another year without any increase at all.

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18 thoughts on “Teachers, Other State Workers Should Temper Raise Expectations”

  1. I’m still not clear on one thing. I understand that base pay of the entire salary schedule may not be raised by the governor’s $$$. But over the years including this year, have or do the teacher’s still get the step increase in pay the number of years they have worked dictate? If so, to say that they have gotten or get no increase in pay is a misnomer and misleading.

    1. Teachers have not received a step increase or cost of living increase in 5 years, while our insurance premiums have skyrocketed in that same period. Essentially, we have received a pay cut each year.

    2. As a teacher myself, I have not received any increase in salary. For some of us, there is not another step increase and our salaries are set. In addition to no cost of living increase, I have also been furloughed six days. Needless to say, my bring home pay is approximately $500 less in 2015 than in 2009. I could really use an increase.

    3. The step increases stop at 20 years. I guess the idea is that it is too late to change careers by then. Add in the Furlough Days and most teachers have not made their schedule salary in 5 years. This has helped our state keep taxes down so that they can pass these saving on to Big Business, coming into the state. Makes a fellow proud to be a teacher knowing that we have a caring Governor, and Legislature.

  2. I thought it was ironic that while Gov. Deal was congratulating teachers who went above and beyond the call of duty during the snow storm, he was calling this budget “restoration” a pay increase! It isn’t even close! I see it as a political ploy during an election year. Shame, shame, shame!

  3. For some of us here in Middle Georgia, getting back any of our 10 furlough days, that we have had the for the past 4 years, will be a pay increase and beneficial to our students who have lost days of vital instruction!

  4. this is crazy why the governor and the labour commissioner cannot get it together and pay the labor people we are doing Bob jobs for the same salary as eight years ago come on people

  5. it has been going on eight years since i had a raise i have been employed with the state of ga for almost 27year now i wish i had work some where else because we have a governor that care nothing about state employee some of us find it hard to make ends meet and thats bad because no cares i dont think we will ever get a raise

  6. I work for state and been there 5 plus years and only make 7.50 and hour for DNR. I am raising five grandchildren I need a raise bad. But instead. I get my hours cut and now make less. My thing is .I am addressing these people who are fusing. Be thankful you have a job. Cause you could be without one and be making nothing

  7. Some state employees have not got raises for 7 years while our insurance raises every year. However, some did get 3% raise this year and most were directors office staff. Someone should alert fox five because doesn’t seem right how they pick and choose who they wanted to have a raise.

  8. Its been 8 years. I worked for Georgia Regents Hospital. I was hoping to get something, oh well, gonna retire now at least we get a built in 3 percent every six months!!

  9. All the talk is always about just the teachers. There is more than just teachers who are state employees. We all have had our insurance increase but we don’t get 3 months off in the summer. Some us also have to work when teachers get snow days. I understand teachers have a tough job and have to keep up yearly training but so do many other agencies. All I’m saying is that people often forget about the rest of state employees

  10. I am a retired state employee (not a teacher.). I retired after working for the state for 34 years. When I was first hired, we were told that we would receive a pension as well as cost of living raises after retirement. I am very grateful for my pension (for which I worked very hard at very stressful jobs the entire time), but I have received no raise, cost of living or other, in about 10 years. Retired teachers do continue to receive regular cost of living raises year after year while we other retired state employees are denied this year after year. This is VERY unfair. When I was still working, if a 3% raise was approved for teachers, we would be approved for a 1.5% raise, etc. I agree with the person who said that we have a governor who cares only about teachers and not about other state employees and retirees. I assume that this is because there are many more teachers which equals more votes. I feel that teachers do deserve every dime that they get, but so do state employees and retirees who are not teachers.

    1. The squeaky wheel gets the grease. Teachers have the backing of one of the largest labor organizations in the United States, the National Education Association. The rest of us just have message boards. 🙂

  11. I am a state employee (not A teacher) retired after working 34 years in a mental hospital with mental patient which is a very hard job day after day and I have not received a cost the living raise in about 10 years. what with this governor we are hurting as well as the teachers we need a raise as well I do not believe this governor care anything about the people that or on the button pay scale of this state. People also have families to support.

  12. I whole heartedly agree with Jennifer. I am also a 34 years of service retiree. I worked hard and gave my all and with no raises I know 7 years or longer for me.I fell that is why the staff morale is low and some people give the amount of work they fell like giving. I know the agency I worked for we truly worked very hard to give our best to the patients. Just please think about us in 2016.

  13. It sucks . No raise no services dangerous jobs and still expected to perform. Gov deal ever heard of burnout. Case that what most case managers in state suffer from. Smh

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