The Little Rock School District yesterday announced a $1,135 across-the-board teacher pay increase proposal for next school year, which is subject to approval by Education Commissioner Johnny Key, who serves as the district’s school board during state control.
This amounts to a 3 percent increase, from $34,865 to $36,000, in starting pay, still well below some large districts in the state. Money to help pay the cost will come from a 2019 legislative contribution to teacher pay, but will create an ongoing financial commitment that will fall on the School District.
Superintendent Michael Poore provides a longer explanation of the agreement reached with the Little Rock Education Association. Poore said the district had hoped to do more over multiple years for teachers. But:
We are uncertain about future student enrollment. Finally, we are concerned about the potential loss of revenue as a result of Walmart asking for an amended tax valuation for their properties in Pulaski County.
The request by Walmart will reduce LRSD’s revenue for 2019-20 by $1.3 million dollars while this issue gets settled.
Call this the Walton double whammy. The declining enrollment is a direct result of the Walton Family Foundation-financed charter school proliferation assault on the Little Rock School District. The tax valuation problem cited by Poore was first reported locally on the Arkansas Blog.
Walmart is on a nationwide program to reduce its tax burden by saying store properties aren’t worth so much in the day of growing Internet commerce (about a third less in Pulaski County, no matter how profitable the current stores may be).The Pulaski assessor is opposing the tax cut-windfall for Walmart, but the matter seems likely to be tied up in the courts after a final assessment decision this summer.
A pay raise for all teachers is the first in six years, not counting step increases for additional years of experience on the pay plan.