Steamboat Springs School Board approves salary increase |

Steamboat Springs School Board approves salary increase

Administrators and directors given half-percent raises

Jack Weinstein

The Steamboat Springs School Board approved a one-half percent salary increase for administrators and directors in the 2009-10 budget Monday night.

The administrators and directors — excluding Super­intendent Shalee Cunn­ingham — were the last group of district employees to receive raises this school year. They agreed to wait until after the Oct. 1 pupil count to see if there was enough funding in the budget for the district to provide them with raises.

During the summer, the district's Collaborative Bar­gaining Team approved an agreement that would provide staff members with salary step increases, which cost the district $325,000 of its $22 million budget, but not increases to their base salaries. District employees who were off the salary schedule — meaning their experience and education levels left them with no possibility of a salary step increase — also didn't initially receive raises. They did after the pupil count last month, at a cost to the district of about $10,000.

On Monday, board members approved by a 4-1 vote the nearly $6,100 in administrator and director salary increases, which will be given at Cunningham's discretion based on evaluations. Board member Laura Anderson opposed the motion.

Anderson said she would have liked to approve the salary increase, but given the current "fiscal crisis," said the money should be "saved for a rainy day."

Passage of the half-percent salary increase followed the failure of a motion to provide administrators and directors with a 1 percent salary increase. That would have cost the district $12,100. In addition to Anderson, board members Denise Connelly and Brian Kelly voted against the motion. Board President Robin Crossan and board member Lisa Brown supported the motion.

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Kelly, when providing an explanation about why he opposed the 1 percent raise, said the district's administrators and directors are doing a great job but that the district must prepare now for Gov. Bill Ritter's proposed cuts to K-12 education funding, which will cost the district more than $980,000.

"I think we need to send a message to salvage the jobs out there and maintain the core of the district," he said.

Brown said the difficult years ahead were reason to reward the district's leadership.

"I feel like this is one of the last shots to say thank you, to honor their work," she said.

In his monthly financial report, Finance Director Dale Mellor said the district's general fund is more than $18,000 higher than the revised budget he presented in September.

At the meeting, the School Board also met in executive session to evaluate Cunningham's performance, which is done quarterly. Cunningham won't receive a raise to her $150,000 base salary (plus health benefits and a car allowance) in the 2009-10 budget. It was not written into her two-year contract, which expires June 30, 2010.

The board took no action following executive session.

In other action:

■ Connelly and Kelly were sworn in as members of the board for the next four years. Connelly, who spent 28 years of her 29-year teaching career in the district, will serve her second term on the board after running unopposed. Kelly, who owns BTK Surveys, defeated challenger Bill Kennedy and will serve his first term as a board member.

■ Board members unanimously approved Crossan to another two-year term as board president. The board also unanimously approved Brown as vice president, Anderson as secretary, and Connelly as treasurer.

■ Board members also approved committee appointments. They include: Connelly as the representative to the Colorado Association of School Boards; Kelly and Connelly to the Education Fund Board; Brown to the District Accountability Committee; Brown and Crossan to the Collaborative Bargaining Team; Crossan to the Security Task Force; Connelly to the district's Finance/Budget Co­­mmittee; and Crossan will lead the board's Community Engagement efforts. Ander­son also will remain the representative on the North­west Colorado Board of Cooperative Educational Services board.

Crossan asked Anderson to continue serving on the BOCES board as it works to address BOCES overspending nearly $317,000 last year and increasing assessments by more than $481,000 this year.

"My concern is changing it up midstream before whatever happens, whatever plays out, plays out," Crossan said.

The BOCES board has approved spending federal stimulus funding to help make up for last year's overspending. It also has approved a 2009-10 budget with assessments at or near what was first presented last May, when the districts were drafting their budgets. But the budget was approved with BOCES carrying a more than $34,000 deficit into 2009-10.

Anderson said she was willing to continue serving as the School Board's BOCES representative.

New salaries

Administrator and director salaries*

■ Anne Muhme, human resources director, $65,503

■ Dale Mellor, finance director, $106,591

■ Kevin Taulman, high school principal, $107,309.50

■ Tim Bishop, middle school principal, $103,891.50

■ Judy Harris, Soda Creek principal, $90,511

■ Celia Dunham, Strawberry Park co-principal, $86,688

■ Michele Miller, Strawberry Park co-principal, $82,971

■ Marty Lamansky, high school assistant principal $77,017

■ Jerry Buelter, middle school assistant principal, $87,832.50

■ Tim Miles, technology director, $90,761

■ Rick Denney, facilities director, $76,647

■ Ed Dingledine, transportation director, $59,003

■ Max Huppert, nutritional services director, $57,059

■ Ruth McBride, grant writer, $61,876.50

*The salaries listed above are the total compensation packages, which include health benefits and automotive allowances. The one-half percent salary increase was determined from base salary. The total for all salary increases is $6,099.50.

Source: Steamboat Springs School District

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