Rochester School board approves increased pay rates for ESPs, LPNs

(ABC 6 News) – Rochester School Board members voted unanimously to approve increased pay rates for Education Support Professionals (ESPs), formerly known as paraprofessionals.

With the ratification from the School Board, all current ESPs will receive a $3 per hour increase in pay for the 2022-2023 school year, and another $1 for 2023-2024 school year. 

“An Education Support Professional has a vital role in the success of the mission of the Rochester Public Schools,” said Laura Denny, the union rep for ESPs. “It is our hope that the gains in this contract will help us to retain our valuable employees as well as attract new ones, in an effort to support all students.”

Additionally, moving forward, there will be four classifications of ESPs and hourly pay ranges for new hires:

  • General: $18.00 – $19.24 (previous starting rate of $15). These include ESPs that support general ed, notetakers, due process ESPs.
  • Specialized: $19.25 – $20.24 (previous starting rate of $16.25). These include most ESPs in Special Education settings, English Learner classrooms, security, Spanish Immersion, transportation, and van drivers.
  • Intensive (new classification): $20.25 – $22.49. These include ESPs that work in programs with more intensive student needs.   Programs would include Autism Spectrum Disorder, Setting III programs, Phoenix, Rochester Academy for Independent Living (RAIL).
  • Bilingual: $22.50-$26.35 

For Health Office nursing positions, the District recently increased pay $2.33 per hour for Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) and $2.89 per hour for Registered Nurses (RNs). The new pay range for LPNs is $25-$27.39 per hour. For RNs, the new pay range is $30-$31.99.

The District also approved a $7500 increase for Licensed School Nurses for the 2022-2023 school year.  

“Minnesota has the lowest unemployment rate in the country currently, and we know we are competing against many organizations for employees,” said RPS Human Resources Director Karl Bakken. “The increase in pay rates for these two groups will hopefully help us retain our current employees, but also recruit high-quality employees.” 

These changes go into effect September 21, 2022.