Operator of four Arkansas youth lockups slashes teacher pay


LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — The Indiana-based company that manages four youth detention centers in Arkansas has slashed the salaries of teachers who work with young offenders, leaving one center without any instructors.

Gary Sallee, a spokesman for Youth Opportunity Investments LLC, told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that teachers made an average of $56,054 last year, when the centers were operated by the state Youth Services Division.

The division handed over operations to Youth Opportunity Investments on July 1 and Sallee says teachers now earn on average $42,900 a year.

Youth Opportunity operates lockups in Dermott, Harrisburg, Lewisville and Mansfield. The Lewisville center currently has no teachers.

Sallee says the intention is to hire 15 educators for all four facilities.

Average salaries for Arkansas public school teachers in the 2018-19 school year ranged from $34,675 to $53,187.

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