Study aims to help USD 475 with recruitment, retention of staff

USD 475 board members, from left, Sarah Talley, Rina D. Neal and Jim Schmidt discuss a plan for a salary compensation study to be conducted to review more than 130 job descriptions in the district. Talley and Neal served on the board committee that reviewed two companies that were being considered to conduct the study. Educational Management Solutions will begin conducting the study in March.

Unified School District 475 officials hope the completion of a salary compensation study will help with recruitment and retention of staff.

USD 475 board members approved a plan to hire Educational Management Solutions (EMS) to conduct a study during this week’s meeting. Mona Manley — the district’s executive director of human resources — said a board committee recently met to review the two companies which were being considered to conduct the study. EMS and CBIZ Talent & Compensation Solutions were finalists to conduct the study, which will review more than 130 job descriptions in the district.

“Other administrators in the region go with these companies,” Manley said.

USD 475 has never conducted a salary compensation study, although almost every other district in the region conducts them, Manley said. The completion of one will allow the district to compete with other employers, she said.

“We lose people to other places because they earn more money,” Manley said. “We want to be as competitive as we can to get the best people in front of our students.”

The district recently attempted to hire a computer technician, but had problems due to competition in salaries, Manley said. The study will review positions for classified staff, including computer technicians, secretaries, English language learner aids and administrators.

The cost to hire EMS is $46,795, while the cost to hire CBIZ is $31,600. Board member Sarah Talley served on the committee that reviewed the companies, and said EMS would probably be a better option to start with.

“They definitely involve the employees,” Talley said. “I felt like they had a better sense of what goes on in the organization of schools. They also have business savvy of who we compete with.”

Board member Rina D. Neal also served on the committee. She agreed with Talley and Manley that EMS would be a better option to start with, and that the district could eventually transition to CBIZ, which also works with businesses. EMS strictly works with schools. Manley said it is recommended to conduct the study every five to 10 years. 

“CBIZ is more analytical, and could be helpful with payroll and budgeting,” Neal said.

Board members agreed to hire EMS to conduct the study in March, and it should be completed by June.

In other business, board members approved a hearing date of March 4 to close Jefferson Elementary. Dr. Beth Hudson — the district’s interim superintendent — said she and Manley recently met with staff at Jefferson to try and line them up with other jobs. Employees filled out forms that allowed them to list three positions they might be interested in, providing they are qualified, Hudson said. They also wrote down three places they would like to relocate, and one place they would not want to go.

“We will place all the Jefferson folks before we would fill any other positions, making sure they have those positions first,” Hudson said. “They will be placed; they don’t have to go through the interview process unless they decide later they would like a different position. Then it would be opened up.”

Manley said the district currently has 24 resignations at the elementary level.

“I think we’re going to be very good in being able to place them where they would like to be,” Manley said.

District officials are also planning to host a town hall meeting Feb. 25 to address any concerns community members might have, Hudson said.

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