Employees of the St. Joseph School District could soon be marking a different payday on their calendars.
St. Joseph School District Superintendent Robert Newhart recommended pushing back the payday for district employees from the last day of each month to the fifth of each month.
“Current policy does not specify pay dates. It only specifies to be annualized over 12 months, one payment per month. Since there is no policy, it prevents to administrative rule making procedures,” Newhart said.
Newhart said the change will save the district approximately $30,000 annually from money the district currently loses when an employee leaves the district.
“When an employee leaves the district at any time, there is money that goes out the window,” Newhart said. “We’re not paying someone up front for work not happening or completed; which we are currently doing. It’s a change that is needing to come, but we are just needing to work out the understanding behind it.”
Central High School teacher and President of St. Joseph National Education Association (NEA) Eric Simmons said the district shouldn’t adjust the pay schedule for all employees based on accounting issues within the district.
“The district has made comments about a potential loss of funds, because of different scenarios,” Simmons said. “In many of our opinions, it appears to be more of an internal control issue than something that should affect every single staff member across the district.”
Simmons said the change would not give the district significant savings and could potentially put lower paid staff at a disadvantage.
“It’s less than 1/1,000 of a percent of the district’s budget that they are projected to save at the cost of upsetting the lives of over 1,000 employees,” Simmons said. “Employees who have full time jobs, who fall in the poverty levels of pay; when they have mortgages or rent, due on the first of the month, prior to the potential date change, those employees are able to use that month to pay off the next month's bills, but now this will be putting them in a hardship,” Simmons said.
Currently district employees are paid on a monthly basis during the fiscal year from July to June. Teachers are paid on a monthly basis from August through July of a fiscal year.
Administrators will meet with members of United SJSD, a district advisory committee, to discuss the changes to current pay periods. Newhart said the district is hoping to implement the adjusted pay schedule in the 2018-2019 fiscal year, beginning in July.