HAYS — Secretaries and other clerical workers in Hays USD 489 could be the first to benefit after a study showed those positions are below the average paid to comparable workers in other school districts and Hays employers.

Keith Hall, USD 489 interim executive director of finance, led a discussion of the wage study at Monday night’s meeting of the USD 489 board of education.

“Our building secretaries are below the starting average wage paid by comparison districts, Hays employers and comparison cities,” Hall told the board and administrators.

Clerical workers are also slightly below the averages, he said.

The study by Fort Hays State University’s Docking Institute of Public Affairs compared wages of the district’s classified staff — including workers in kitchens, custodial, maintenance, offices, information technology and bus drivers — with those of five other districts as well as 59 employers in a variety of fields in Hays.

Wage information for similar positions was also collected from online job search sites for Hays and six other cities — Garden City, Dodge City, Liberal, Great Bend, McPherson and El Dorado.

Starting wages for school secretaries at USD 489 is $9.62 an hour. Among the school districts compared, USD 490 El Dorado was closest, with a starting wage of $9.87. USD 428 Great Bend was highest at $13.02.

The average starting wage for a similar position among the Hays employers in the study is $12.78.

Clerical workers in the Hays district start at $10.06. Data for only three other districts was included for that position in the study, ranging from $9.70 at USD 418 McPherson to $11.40 at USD 457 Garden City.

“The goal is to establish a new starting wage and anyone that is below that wage would be bumped up to that wage,” Hall said.