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Togiola announces teacher reclassification completed

Gov. Togiola Tulafono says the Department of Education has completed the teacher reclassification, which would increase salaries in accordance with a person’s attained higher credentials, such as a degree.

Togiola made the announcement on his weekend radio program, saying this reclassification process has been a long and difficult task undertaken by DOE director-designee Dr. Jacinta Galeai and DOE deputy director of finance Russell Aab.

According to the governor, acting DOE director Lt. Gov. Faoa A. Sunia has confirmed the reclassification is now completed, and he has given his endorsement. He also said money saved by DOE in FY 2012 is being used to start funding those teachers, who were identified to get a higher salary based on the degrees attained. 

Responding to Samoa News inquiries for further clarification, Aab explained that there are three types of pay adjustments and “the first was for personnel who had been assigned to positions without paperwork being completed.”

“For example vice principals being placed as principals with no change in title or teachers who had received advanced degrees without getting a pay adjustment,” Aab explained. “We had been able to correct most of their positions this year but were not able to give them any retroactive pay.”

He said, “we had savings in our budget this year [FY 2012] and are now able to give them retroactive pay for one year if appropriate. There were 50 personnel who were in this category.”.

For the second category, these are teachers who “had met all of the legal requirements for being classified as highly qualified but had not been reclassified. There were a total of 81 teachers in this category,” he said.

“The last category were teachers who have an A.A. degree but who have passed the Praxis exam. There were 21 of these teachers,” he said, adding that the last two categories “were budgeted for FY 2013 but we had enough funds in FY 2012 to go ahead and do the paperwork now.”

On his radio program, the governor says that Galeai and Aab carried out a thorough review of teachers records to ensure that those who are required to get a higher pay scale after obtaining a degree is given the right salary level.

He said this should have being done a long time ago but did not happen, adding that the reclassification recognizes efforts of teachers in obtaining their degrees. He thanked teachers for their patience as the government worked towards completing this task in order for teachers to get the right pay.

Togiola said this reclassification process ensures that all future teachers who obtain higher degrees will be able to receive their pay without having to waiting for a long period of time.