Knox gives credit where credit is due

Knox County Public Schools recently amended a 2014 policy in order to remain a competitive employer.

At the October meeting, Superintended Kelly Sprinkles introduced an item to change the current classified salary policy.

“Our current policy for classified employees that come into the district allows them to provide us with information based upon previous employment, and we are allowed to give one for two years experience with the maximum of five. So, if a person is hired into our district, who had worked twenty years in a similar field, under the current policy, the most experience that we could give them would be five years experience,” explained Superintendent Sprinkles. “If we had a teacher come in from another district, and they had twenty years experience, we would give them twenty years experience. So, this has been kind of a discrepancy that’s been in there for a while.”

Superintendent Sprinkles explained that he, along with Frank Shelton, Director of Communications and Governance for KCPS, looked at the policies of neighboring districts and found that most have a one-to-one policy concerning years of experience for classified employees.

KCPS’s current policy was enacted in September 2014. Prior to that, employees received the one-to-one credit. Sprinkles suggested that, in addition to changing the policy for future employees, the board also allow any employees hired in the gap from 2014 to present be allowed to submit documentation proving their previous positions were similar to their current jobs and receive the one-to-one credit. The administration looked at the cost of salary increases and determined the cost to the board would be minimal.

“We’re competing with Bell County, Whitley County and Laurel County for these employees that fill these positions,” said Sprinkles. “We’ve had people who came in and were not willing to take a job based upon the fact that they were not getting credit for their time. I think this helps us stay competitive.”

The board approved to change the policy in a 3-1 vote. Board member Peggy Gray voted against the change.