Success Story: Salary Increase for Additional Work

Frank Cirrin, SLP

Minneapolis Public Schools, Minnesota

What did you do?

Several years ago, the teachers in my district who had achieved National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) certification were awarded a lane increase on the teacher salary schedule that resulted in a $1,550 increase in pay.. Our speech-language pathologists (SLPs) wanted our ASHA Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC) to be recognized as equivalent to the national certification for classroom teachers.

What were your greatest challenges?

Despite the fact that we had provided a side-by-side comparison of NBPTS and ASHA certification, and used ASHA's guidebook on state salary supplements to help document equivalent training and rigor, we were unable to convince the district that the two certificates were comparable. We also tried collaborating with district occupational therapists, physical therapists, and school psychologists to suggest contract language that would be a fair solution, but this action was also unsuccessful.

Our situation changed in 2000 when our district began billing Medicaid for SLP services. Minnesota required ASHA CCC or equivalent for 3 rd party billing. This was our opportunity to pursue a salary increase for our national certification.

What advice would you give others?

Our special education administrators were convinced that a salary increase, based on the amount of work associated with 3rd party billing and the financial benefit to the district, was warranted. They worked with the union to broaden the language of a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) related to National Board Certified Teachers to include other professionals with advanced national certification involved in 3rd party billing. Once our union and administration determined how much they would gain by having ASHA- certified SLPs participate in Medicaid billing, they agreed to provide a salary schedule change equivalent to that for National Board Certified Teachers. (See Memorandum of Agreement and Application for Pay Lane Change [PDF] based on National Certification)

Our district SLPs are satisfied with recognition of their advanced certification (CCC) and pleased with the monetary award. District SLPs feel empowered to continue to advocate for change and are currently focusing their advocacy efforts on workload/caseload issues.

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