Oshkosh school board to vote on market-driven pay raises

The Oshkosh school board will vote on its first-ever market-driven salary increases for school psychologists and nurse assistants Wednesday to counter a severe shortage of candidates and rapid turnover.

The resolution would give three currently-employed school psychologists each $20,000 raises, which ranges from 37 percent to 43 percent more per employee, and boosts the hourly pay for nurse assistants by $1.50 or $2.50, depending on experience.

The raises are meant as incentives for current employees to stay as statewide competition for these jobs intensifies in both public and private sectors, Director of Human Resources Mike Nault said.

Five out of six psychologists and five out of nine nurse assistants, or licensed practical nurses, have left Oshkosh schools in the past 1.5 years, Nault said. The district has struggled to fill the vacancies as candidate pools are virtually nonexistent.

This is the first time the district has attempted targeted raises based on market conditions. In the past, salaries were determined by union contracts and were distributed solely by years of experience and levels of education. Those agreements were expunged by ACT 10, the 2010 state law limiting collective bargaining for most public sector workers.

The potential raises come as the district prepares for millions of dollars in budget cuts expected before next school year.

Board member Karl Loewenstein wrote in his blog Tuesday, “We are going to be cutting brutally in the spring and every bit of money we spend now has to be cut.  I don’t know how we balance everything.  Each time we approve new spending, we are assured that these are critical needs.  We don’t know what will have to be cut to balance this out.”

The board will meet at 6 p.m. Wednesday in the District Administration Building, 215 S. Eagle St., Oshkosh.

About Adam Rodewald

Adam Rodewald is the senior reporter for The Oshkosh Northwestern and a member of the Gannett Wisconsin Media Investigative Team. He has been a professional journalist since 2006. He specializes in open records, data analysis, and issues surrounding education, children and families.
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