Ark. Code Ann. § 6-17-2203 requires school districts to increase the minimum hourly rate paid to full-time classified school employees by a percentage equal to the percentage increase of the consumer price index (CPI). The result is the new minimum hourly rate to be paid to all full-time classified school employees. An example of this calculation is shown below.
The legislation does not provide a specific source for the CPI data. The Department recognizes the Bureau of Labor Statistics' website as a valid source of CPI data: http://www.bls.gov/. CPI data used for the percentage increase calculation is found at http://data.bls.gov/cgi-bin/surveymost?cw (check the first box, which is labeled "U.S. All items, 1982-84=100 - CWUR0000SA0", scroll to the bottom of the page and click the button labeled [Retrieve data]). The data on this page indicate the CPI for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers increased by 3.54% from the twelve-month average ending in April 2007 (average of May 2006 - April 2007) to the twelve-month average ending April 2008 (average of May 2007 - April 2008.) The minimum hourly rate for the 2007-2008 school year was $7.13. The established increase for 2008-2009 is 3.54% or $0.25 per hour, which results in the new minimum rate of $7.38 per hour. If a school district is currently paying full-time classified employees $7.38 or higher, there is no mandate to increase the rate by 3.54%.
For more information on the CPI, go to the following website: http://www.bls.gov/cpi/cpifaq.htm