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 minimum hourly rate paid to full-time classified school employees by a percentage equal to the percentage increase of the CPI. The result is the new minimum hourly rate to be paid to all full-time classified school employees. The legislation does not provide a specific source for the CPI data. The Division of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) 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 https://data.bls.gov/cgi-bin/surveymost?bls. Check the box on the screen under “Price Indexes” that is labeled "CPI for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W), 1982-84=100-CWUR0000SA0," then scroll to the bottom of the page and click on the button labeled "Retrieve Data".
The data on this page was used to calculate that the CPI for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers increased by 1.62% (.0162) from the twelve-month average of May 2019 through April 2020 to the twelve-month average of May 2020 through April 2021. The minimum hourly rate for the 2020-2021 school year was $8.99. The established increase for 2021-2022 is 1.62% or $0.15 per hour, which results in the new minimum rate of $9.14 per hour.
The new classified employee minimum wage calculated for school year 2021-2022 is $9.14 per hour; however, Arkansas Issue 5 increased the Arkansas minimum wage to $11.00 per hour effective January 1, 2021. Because the state minimum wage is more than the calculated CPI rate, use the state minimum wage for classified employees.