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Columbia Board of Education approves employee pay raise

The Columbia Public School Board voted to approve pay raises for employees Monday night.

This marks the first time in eight years teachers have gotten a raise in base pay.It has been one of the big collective bargaining parts between teachers and CPS.

The Board of Education also got a breakdown of how CPS wants to spend the millions brought in from a voter-approved property tax raise.

CPS Budget Director Linda Quinley says the 65-cent property tax increase will account for $14 million a year.

Employees, including teachers, custodians and other staff will get a total seven percent increase in salary base pay, and by increasing the amount of each step on the schedule.

CMNEA president Kathy Steinhoff said she thought the raises would prove “significant” for the district, but wished administration would have provided the proposed salary schedules earlier, in order to get feedback from the teachers.

Quinley says the voting public of Columbia helped make the plan happen. For years, the state legislature hasn’t fully funded what’s called the “foundation formula” that decides how much a school district gets from the state.

“The funding that we would have gotten from the formula would have replaced what we needed to go ask our voters for,” Quinley told ABC 17 News. “Because they’ve lagged behind in funding the formula for so long, we, and many other school districts, have gone to the voters to try and pick up the difference.”

The state government just overrode a veto from the governor to stop the lowering of the Foundation Formula cap.

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