Members of the Granite School Board voted Tuesday to raise teachers’ salaries by 2.5 percent and grant them a one-time 1 percent bonus for the 2018-19 school year.
Granite’s pay hike, which follows Jordan School District’s announcement last Thursday that it was boosting teacher compensation, echoes last summer’s “salary wars,” which saw some of Utah’s largest districts racing to raise pay to stay competitive amid statewide difficulties in hiring and retaining teachers.
The pay package ratified Tuesday — which has already been approved by the district’s teachers union — raises the district’s starting salary for a teacher from $41,000 to roughly $41,900.
In 2017, Granite’s board voted to raise property taxes to supplement higher compensation packages for educators, including bumping its starting teacher salary from $37,000 to $41,000.
Pending approval from its teachers union of the latest pay offer, the Jordan district’s starting salary will rise from $40,000 to $42,800 and all teachers will get a flat $2,500 raise.
The Jordan and Granite salary moves come during a national conversation on teacher compensation and educational funding. Schools in Colorado and Arizona recently shut down as teachers walked out, demanding better pay and increased funding.
With Granite and Jordan, Utah’s districts that raised pay last year included Canyons, Salt Lake City, Park City, Alpine, Nebo and Washington.
Granite’s package also includes plans to open a free health clinic for district staff, giving teachers access to basic medical treatment and the ability to fill non-narcotic prescriptions, said district spokesman Ben Horsley.
The free clinic, to be housed at Valley Junior High in West Valley City, will cost about $2 million to open, but Horsley said the district anticipates it will lead to savings “in the millions” over time.
Funding for Granite’s 2018-19 compensation package comes from the Utah Legislature’s recent increase to per-pupil spending statewide, he said.