The Manhattan-Ogden school board on Wednesday will consider increasing classified staff hourly pay rates by 50 cents as part of a two-phase plan to bring pay to what adminstrators say would be a more competitive level.

The board meets at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Robinson Education Center, 2031 Poyntz Ave.

Classified employees include positions like crossing guards, bus drivers, custodians, food service workers and office staffers that don’t necessarily require advanced certifications or degrees.

Administrators say the district had trouble recruiting and retaining classified personnel last school year with what they call uncompetitive wages for the region and lost several employees for that reason.

Therefore, they are proposing a two-phase pay bump for those employees.

The first phase, up for approval at Wednesday’s meeting, is a 50-cent increase in most classified employees’ pay rates. That phase, if approved, would take effect with the pay period starting July 8. The second phase would be a percentage increase, determined and voted on only after the district negotiates rate increases with its other employee groups.

District administrators estimate the pay rate would increase the 2020 budget by $420,000.

The board will also vote on renewing its membership to the Kansas Association of School Boards. The organization lobbies for education at the state level and provides legal services to member districts.

Membership renewal would cost the district $14,000 with an additional package to provide workshop access to school board members and staff. The separate legal assistance fund membership would cost the district $2,100.