The county board of education may establish salary schedules which shall be in excess of the state minimums fixed by this article.
These county schedules shall be uniform throughout the county with regard to any training classification, experience, years of employment, responsibility, duties, pupil participation, pupil enrollment, size of buildings, operation of equipment or other requirements. Further, uniformity shall apply to all salaries, rates of pay, benefits, increments or compensation for all persons regularly employed and performing like assignments and duties within the county: Provided, That in establishing such local salary schedules, no county shall reduce local funds allocated for salaries in effect on the first day of January, one thousand nine hundred ninety, and used in supplementing the state minimum salaries as provided for in this article, unless forced to do so by defeat of a special levy, or a loss in assessed values or events over which it has no control and for which the county board has received approval from the state board prior to making such reduction.
Counties may provide, in a uniform manner, benefits for service personnel which require an appropriation from local funds including, but not limited to, dental, optical, health and income protection insurance, vacation time and retirement plans excluding the state teachers retirement system. Nothing herein shall prohibit the maintenance nor result in the reduction of any benefits in effect on the first day of January, one thousand nine hundred eighty-four, by any county board of education.