School leaders get raises


— The Steamboat Springs RE-2 School Board voted Monday to increase the salaries of the district's administrators to a level comparable to the step raises given to teachers and support staff.

The four principals and two assistant principals in the district will each receive a 3.25 percent raise, while the directors will receive 3.78 percent more than they did last year.

Although that increase equates to about 1 percent more than what teachers will get, the discrepancy is based on a decision by the teachers to forego a 1 percent raise from a reduction in retirement fund costs in favor of establishing an early retirement fund, said School Superintendent Cyndy Simms. The administrators decided to put that 1 percent toward their salaries.

The district's retirement fund, called the Public Employee Retirement Association, provided a 1 percent permanent decrease in employer contributions from 11.4 percent to 10.4 percent beginning on July 1, 2000.

The administrators will enjoy any additional salary increases approved for teachers and support staff by the Collective Bargaining Team when it meets in January to try to squeeze some more money out of the district, according to school finance director Dale Mellor.

The school board made a point of stressing the need for higher salaries in the district when it voted to approve the administrators' salary schedule.

"One of the major issues facing the district is personnel salaries," said school board member Paul Fisher, speaking for the entire board on Monday. "To satisfy our policy of attracting and retaining the best personnel we feel very strongly that we need to restructure the pay schedule. We need a pay plan more stable and predictable."

But members of the board, repeating a theme they had brought up when approving teacher and support staff salaries, said they were unsure of where the district will find the money to boost staff salaries.

The district, which is handcuffed to a degree by the state's finance formula, will try to find creative solutions to its salary woes at the January CBT meetings, Simms said.


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