/Education agencies share salary, retention info

Education agencies share salary, retention info

Talks Thursday were about salaries and retention rates between the heads of state’s education institutions (K-12, community college and public universities) and legislators who serve on special panels that examine state spending. House Speaker Philip Gunn was kind to the community colleges for having a low five-year attrition rate, which is around 7 percent. However, he was critical of the high percentage of administrative staff. Gunn asked about the 60 percent of non-faculty employees. “Is there any other way to transfer those dollars to faculty?” Andrea Mayfield, the executive director of the board of community colleges, said that “we’re already operating with bare bones in terms if we have to provide support staff such as student service, business office functions, and registration.” Glenn Boyce, Institutions of Higher Learning Commissioner, pointed out that Mississippi’s public colleges and universities pay faculty approximately 88.6 per cent of the regional average. This is an increase from 86 percent a few years ago. Boyce stated that it is difficult for the college to keep these people around for long periods of time due to the pay factor. Boyce informed the group that 1,227 of the 5,899 faculty members at all colleges and universities are part-time or adjunct professors. Boyce stated that “We couldn’t survive without that group” but he also noted that the numbers are closely monitored to ensure adjunct faculty don’t make up the majority of college faculty in the state. Carey Wright, the state education superintendent, told lawmakers that the Mississippi Department of Education faces the same problem of employees leaving for higher-paying jobs in the private sector. The department’s turnover rate increased from 10.49 percent between 2011 and 2012, to 17.44 percent between 2015 and 2016. Wright attributes this increase to the department’s reorganization that occurred in 2013 and 2014. They will also hold sessions on travel and contract services, among other topics. This session was announced earlier in the summer by the leaders of the tax- and budget working groups. These working groups will evaluate the state’s budgets for 13 state agencies and its tax structure. To support this important work, you can make a regular donation to the Spring Member Drive today. Our reporters give a human face to policy’s impact on everyday Mississippians by listening more closely and understanding their communities. To ensure that our work is aligned with the priorities and needs of all Mississippians, we are listening to you. Click the button below to let us know what you think.