Minneapolis SLPs to Receive Salary Increase Proving the impact advocacy can have for school-based clinicians, ASHA-certified speech-language pathologists in the Minneapolis Public Schools are scheduled to receive a salary increase of more than $1,500 next month. The annual increase was secured not through legislative victory, but through advocacy at the district level as the Minneapolis SLPs ... School Matters
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School Matters  |   October 01, 2001
Minneapolis SLPs to Receive Salary Increase
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School-Based Settings / Practice Management / Professional Issues & Training / School Matters
School Matters   |   October 01, 2001
Minneapolis SLPs to Receive Salary Increase
The ASHA Leader, October 2001, Vol. 6, 1-7. doi:10.1044/leader.SCM1.06192001.1
The ASHA Leader, October 2001, Vol. 6, 1-7. doi:10.1044/leader.SCM1.06192001.1
Proving the impact advocacy can have for school-based clinicians, ASHA-certified speech-language pathologists in the Minneapolis Public Schools are scheduled to receive a salary increase of more than $1,500 next month. The annual increase was secured not through legislative victory, but through advocacy at the district level as the Minneapolis SLPs demonstrated the value of their CCCs in the Medicaid billing process.
Frank Cirrin explains that he and other ASHA-certified Minneapolis SLPs began advocating for a boost in their salaries--similar to the recognition teachers receive if they are certified by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS)--in January 1998 through presentations to their union (Education Minnesota, an affiliate of both the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association) and district. “We wanted our ASHA CCCs to be recognized as equivalent to the national certification for classroom teachers,” Cirrin says. “National certification for teachers is encouraged and recognized in the contract in a number of important ways, including an advance of one lane on the salary schedule--approximately $1,550 in our district.”
To demonstrate their case, Cirrin says the Minneapolis SLPs provided side-by-side comparisons of the ASHA and NBPTS certificates and used ASHA’s guidebook on state salary supplements to help document equivalent training and rigor. “Working through the district’s process, we made six presentations over two years,” he says. “At one point, we collaborated with occupational therapists, physical therapists, school psychologists, and others to suggest contract language that we thought would be a fair solution. However, there was little progress on resolving this issue.
“The situation changed almost two years ago when our district started to bill Medicaid for health-related IEP services, including speech-language services,” Cirrin explains. “As I understand it, our state requires ASHA CCCs (or equivalent) for third-party billing, but doesn’t require CCCs to be a school-based SLP. We saw this as an opportunity to pursue a salary increase for our voluntary national certification without arguing about whether our ASHA CCCs are identical to teachers’ NBPTS certification. With the advice of the union, we felt confident that our ASHA CCCs had value as the district began to collect much needed reimbursement to support students in special education.”
As it became evident how much reimbursement the district stood to gain by having ASHA-certified SLPs fully participate in third-party billing, the union and district signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) in June providing a salary schedule lane change to ASHA-certified SLPs who also provide services to students through third-party billing. “This salary increase is consistent with current contract language on the benefits of achieving NBPTS certification,” Cirrin says.
Cirrin credits much of their success to support from the district’s director of special education and other administrators for recognition of advanced professional certification. “In fact, the special education administrators worked to broaden the MOA to include educational audiologists, OTs, PTs, school psychologists, school social workers, and school nurses who perform third-party billing activities and who hold advanced national certificates in their respective fields,” he adds.
But the Minneapolis SLPs’ advocacy efforts have not ended with this salary increase. “Our efforts continue,” Cirrin says. “District SLPs are working with the union and the district to change the contract, so that the ASHA CCCs are recognized on their own merits without being tied to third-party billing.”
The salary increase is expected to take effect Nov. 1 and will be retroactive to September 2000.
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October 2001
Volume 6, Issue 19