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Teachers — both public and private in line for reclassification raises

Governor’s Chief of Staff, Tuimavave Tauapa’i Laupola

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The Lemanu Administration has implemented a new entry level salary for public school teachers with degrees, while paperwork for reclassification of teachers’ salaries has been submitted to the ASG Office of Budget and Planning for processing.

This is according to the Governor’s Chief of Staff, Tuimavave Tauapa’i Laupola, who points out that the government is also working on salary increases for private school teachers, who are currently being paid under the federal Consolidated Grant program.

Among the issues discussed during a cabinet meeting early last week is teachers pay raises, according a Governor’s Office news release, which states that “plans are now being finalized to increase the salaries of all teachers in the territory.”  But there were no other details on this subject.

Responding to Samoa News email questions, Tuimavave provided information, which shows the Lemanu Administration’s increases for entry level salaries for degrees holders.

For example, the previous entry level salary for Associate of Arts (AA)/Associate of Science (AS) degree holders is $16,000 but the new reclassification scale is set at $20,000; Bachelors degree holders — previous entry level was $23,000 — while the new one is $31,000; and Masters degree holders new entry level salary is $41,000 compared to the older pay scale of $27,000.

The Lemanu Administration has also set an entry level salary for Doctorate degree holders at $50,000 — as there was no previous entry level salary this higher degree level.

(Samoa News points out that the previous entry level salaries for AA/AS, Bachelor and Masters degree holders was set by the Lolo Administration.)

“All teachers are being reclassified,” said Tuimavave, who noted that the total budget for the salary adjustments only is $2.9 million for teachers only. “Paperwork for the reclassification has all been submitted to Budget Office for processing as of Wednesday [last] week.”

The Chief of Staff also said that, “We are currently working on the private and parochial school teachers currently paid under the Consolidated Grant. The goal is to pay the credentialed teachers the same as public school teachers.”

The public school teachers’ salary reclassification follows Gov. Lemanu Peleti Palepoi Sialega Mauga’s public announcement during an Apr. 8th cabinet meeting — which the local news media were allowed to attend — plans to raise the lower level salaries from $12,000 up to $15,000 to $16,000 and also includes raising each salary level until the increases reach the director level. (See Samoa News edition Apr. 9th for details.) In a separate news release, the Governor’s Office said the Admin's timeline for all salary increases is the end of the year.

The news media didn’t get an invitation from the Governor’s Office to attend last week’s cabinet meeting.