BALDWIN COUNTY, Ala. (WPMI) The Baldwin County School Board has voted in favor of a 1 percent pay raise, the first since the 2007-2008 school year.
Teachers and all school employees will get the raise beginning in July.
"That 1 percent raise is costing about $1.6 million, and that's just a piece of the bigger puzzle of what we want to do with discretionary funds for next year," said Baldwin County School Superintendent Dr. Alan Lee.
Those millions come directly from money saved and from the one cent sales tax renewed by voters.
Becky Jones has been teaching in Baldwin County for 20 years. She, like many other long term teachers, say the school board's decision to spend the bulk of its discretionary money towards middle school laptops is disappointing.
"We had heard rumors of a higher pay raise and we were hopeful. When you consider the years of service and how many years it's been since we've received a pay raise, I was disappointed. But hey I'm appreciative of any consideration," said Jones.
Union reps like John Hudson agree.
"One percent does not bring us back to the level we were five years ago. It would take at least 2.5 percent to bring us back to where the salaries were just five years ago," said Hudson.
That's because teachers were forced to increase their share towards retirement by 2.5 percent. It's money they'll see later but not even the governor's attempt to give them a raise seems to be doing well.
"And our latest report is that they don't believe they will have the funds to do that. But in a legislative session, one never knows what's going to happen," said Lee.
In the end, the Baldwin County School Board did what lawmakers in Montgomery haven't been able to so far. The 1 percent raise takes effect July 1.