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DPS employees now earn a minimum of $15 an hour

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With a final vote at its January 25, 2021, meeting, the Durham County Board of Commissioners fulfilled a longtime priority of Durham Public Schools leaders by fully funding a minimum wage of $15 an hour for DPS employees.

“This has been at the top of our list for a long time,” said Superintendent Pascal Mubenga. “We are profoundly grateful to Durham County for finding the resources to bring us to parity with city and county employees.”

The county commissioners first voted on January 11 to increase funding to Durham Public Schools to cover the salary increases, and the Durham Public Schools Board of Education followed with a vote on January 14 to implement the new salary schedule, affecting approximately 1,200 employees. On January 25 the commissioners made the vote retroactive to the start of the school and fiscal year on July 1, 2020.

The average salary increase for affected employees is $1,200 a year. Pay will be increased for all employees who formerly earned less than $16.50 an hour, with employees earning less than $15 an hour receiving the largest pay increase. Employees received the new monthly salary beginning with the January paycheck and will receive back pay from July through December in February.

“I'm grateful for the collaborative work with our Durham County Board of Commissioners to make this priority a reality for our staff,” said school board Chair Bettina Umstead. “A minimum wage of $15 an hour will honor the hard work of our current staff and have a positive impact on our ability to recruit and retain great DPS employees.”