Salary Stipend Targets Recruitment, Retention California’s Upland Unified School District has introduced a salary stipend that will supplement speech-language pathologists’ salaries with annual 8%–12% increases to the teacher’s salary schedule to boost SLP recruitment and retention. “This supplement was developed as a way to retain SLPs and reward them for service to the district,” said ... School Matters
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School Matters  |   May 01, 2008
Salary Stipend Targets Recruitment, Retention
Author Notes
  • Susan Boswell, an assistant managing editor of The ASHA Leader, can be reached at sboswell@asha.org.
    Susan Boswell, an assistant managing editor of The ASHA Leader, can be reached at sboswell@asha.org.×
  • Eileen Crowe, director, state association relations, can be reached at ecrowe@asha.org.
    Eileen Crowe, director, state association relations, can be reached at ecrowe@asha.org.×
Article Information
Professional Issues & Training / School Matters
School Matters   |   May 01, 2008
Salary Stipend Targets Recruitment, Retention
The ASHA Leader, May 2008, Vol. 13, 4-7. doi:10.1044/leader.SCM2.13062008.4
The ASHA Leader, May 2008, Vol. 13, 4-7. doi:10.1044/leader.SCM2.13062008.4
California’s Upland Unified School District has introduced a salary stipend that will supplement speech-language pathologists’ salaries with annual 8%–12% increases to the teacher’s salary schedule to boost SLP recruitment and retention.
“This supplement was developed as a way to retain SLPs and reward them for service to the district,” said Diane Collins, president-elect of the California Speech-Language-Hearing Association and the ASHA Speech-Language Pathology Advisory Council member who worked with the union negotiating team. “It sets a standard for other districts to compensate SLPs for all that they do.”
District SLP salaries will remain on the teacher’s salary schedule, but clinicians with up to six years of service will receive an additional 8%, and those who have worked seven or more years will receive an additional 12%. The supplement, which is retroactive to July 2007, also affects pension calculations.
Pressed by a shortage of SLPs and escalating costs for contracted services, Collins saw the need for a salary supplement at a student job fair, where she encouraged students to consider the health benefits and employment opportunities—not just salary—in evaluating job offers from school districts. But for cash-strapped graduates, salary was a priority.
“We needed incentives to bring students into the district—and to retain these clinicians,” Collins said.
Led by Collins and SLP Alexis Brown, the district’s 10 SLPs—all members of the strong, cohesive Upland Teachers Association—developed advocacy materials used to convince the union negotiating team to provide salary parity with school psychologists, who receive an annual 19% stipend.
The SLPs began their push for a supplement in fall 2006, Collins said. They informed the union of their qualifications—eight of the SLPs have CCCs and state licenses, and two are completing their clinical fellowships—and informed the officials of requirements for continuing education, licensure, and caseload size. They also provided a comparison of other local salary scales.
The clinicians also profiled the changes in education, noting that students with more severe disabilities, such as Asperger’s syndrome, are now in mainstream classrooms with speech-language services. “I have students with more severe needs,” Collins noted. “We’re not just serving students who have articulation and language needs.”
The union and the Upland District administration were supportive, and asked questions to clarify, not challenge, the proposal for a supplement. The negotiating team began contract negotiations last spring. In just two meetings the stipend was finalized and passed in February as part of a package of contractual changes.
Supplements on the Rise
In 21 states, a total of 84 local school districts provide supplements for ASHA-certified clinicians. Annual supplements in these districts range from $750–$8,320 (in Pasadena, Tex.). Rather than offering a set dollar amount, some districts provide a percentage increase, such as Indian River County (Fla.), which provides 15% of base salary annually for SLPs with their CCCs. Other district incentives include a one-time supplement, payment of ASHA dues, a salary schedule separate from the teacher’s salary schedule, credit for a master’s degree, credit for previous employment outside of the school district, and sign-on bonuses. California has the largest number of districts (15) that provide supplements, followed by Virginia with 11. Most supplements apply to SLPs; only 11 of the 84 district supplements also apply to audiologists.
Some states have enacted statewide supplement legislation. Mississippi, following advocacy by the Mississippi Speech-Language-Hearing Association, was the first to enact such legislation for SLPs and audiologists in 1999. Since then, nine additional states have passed salary supplement legislation. Two of the 10—Louisiana and Arkansas—continue to seek funding for their laws.
Funded annual state supplements range from $1,750–$6,000 (in Mississippi and Delaware). Salary supplements apply to both SLPs and audiologists in five of the states (Delaware, Indiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and West Virginia). In the other three (Rhode Island, Missouri and Nevada), the supplement applies only to SLPs. In Mississippi, Rhode Island, and West Virginia, funding is also provided towards obtaining ASHA certification. A number of state associations are continuing to press for salary supplements in legislative sessions this year.
Salary Supplement Advocacy

Updates and additions to the State Advocacy Guidebook for the Salary Supplement Initiative, developed as part of ASHA’s 2007 Focused Initiatives, are now available online. Go to www.asha.org and search on “salary supplement guide” to find information on meeting with decision-makers, information to use in the process, developing your advocacy proposal, and engaging the media. Included are many resources to assist you in your advocacy efforts, including charts on district and statewide supplements.

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May 2008
Volume 13, Issue 6