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Hickman Mills raises salaries, razes empty buildings

hickman mills teacher.jpg
Posted at 5:26 PM, Nov 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-18 20:07:55-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Leaders of the Hickman Mills C-1 School District in Kansas City, Missouri, put plans into action this week made possible by two “yes” votes in August’s election.

Thursday night, the school board approved a new salary scale for teachers, making them the highest-paid teachers among all 13 districts serving Kansas City’s boundaries.

Friday, the district announced formal plans to demolish Johnson and Symington schools. The two abandoned elementary schools had been a source of blight in the community. The district also plans to build a new middle school.

In August, voters approved a no tax increase bond to generate $20 million which will help pay for the demolition and construction projects. Also in August, voters approved a property tax levy to fund the teacher salary increase. The owner of a property valued at $100,000 will now pay roughly $250 more annually.

Beginning next school year, first-year Hickman Mills teachers will start earning $46,500 per year instead of $38,000. The move shifts the district from the lowest starting salary to the highest.

Teachers will be able to earn up to $95,000 per year, also the highest top salary offered within Kansas City’s public school districts.

Superintendent Dr. Yaw Obeng hopes the salary increases help the district attract and retain quality teachers, a big step in moving from provisional to full accreditation with the state’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Existing teachers will get an average raise of about 24%. A recent report ranked Missouri's teacher salaries as among the lowest in the country.

“I take a lot of pride knowing the district has invested in teachers,” said Kenda Taylor, a Compass Elementary kindergarten teacher. “All teachers are great, but you want to bring in highly qualified teachers to make sure your students are getting the type of education they deserve.”

Next, Dr. Obeng plans to bring forward a proposal raising salaries for support staff like janitors, cafeteria employees and paraprofessionals.