School board approves raises for instructional assistants, facing $860K loss of SEEK funds

The Russell County Board of Education tackled the annual salary schedule at last night’s meeting with the board unanimously approving raises for instructional aides.

The board approved raises for instructional assistants with 15 years of experience or more.

Instructional assistants in the school system with 15-19 years will receive a 3.8 percent increase, while those with 20-24 years will receive a 4.7 percent increase.

Finally, those with 25+ years will receive a 7.3 percent increase.

Superintendent Michael Ford told WJRS News the school district is very competitive with other districts for instructional assistants early on in their careers, but there was a noticeable gap between Russell County and other districts for those with 15 years or more. Ford said these raises will make Russell County much more competitive with other districts in that area.

The issue of a need for raises for instructional assistants was raised last year when the board granted a 10 percent raise for classified staff and 5 percent for certified staff.

Ford did not recommend raises for classified and certified staff this year like last year, with Ford pointing to a major hit to the school district’s budget coming in the form of an expected $860,000 loss in SEEK funds.

SEEK funds are funds received by local school districts from the state, and is one of the core funding mechanisms for school districts across Kentucky.

Russell County Schools is forecasted to receive roughly $12.42 million for the upcoming 23-24 school year, while receiving roughly $13.28 million during the 22-23 school year.

The difference in SEEK funds, Ford said, is due to a decrease in average daily attendance within the school district from this past school year. The past few years, the school district has been able to use attendance data from 2018-2019, or pre-COVID numbers, but that rule has changed, and Ford said Russell County Schools –like many other school districts in Kentucky– has not quite returned to pre-pandemic level attendance.

Also of note, Russell County saw its number of students being homeschooled double from 2018-2019 to 2022-2023.

Both of those are factors in SEEK funding.

The school district will also take on the extra costs of having two school resource officers in the district that were previously paid for by a grant.

The COPS grant expired, so the school district is putting forth an extra $60,000-70,000 to keep those SROs.


About Zac Oakes 4462 Articles
Zac Oakes is the News and Sports Director for and Laker Country WJRS 104.9 FM.