DIT teacher raises on table

South Routt School Board will consider salary increases

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An unprecedented pay schedule adjustment to be proposed to the South Routt School Board tonight will increase salaries of South Routt teachers with more than 29 years of experience.

The proposed adjustment, recommended by the District Improvement Team, will be discussed by the School Board at its meeting tonight. No action is scheduled to be taken tonight on the proposal.

District officials began discussing the proposal at the end of the 2002-03 school year, when a teacher expressed concern he or she wouldn't see an increase in salary because the district's pay schedule ends after 30 steps, or 29 years of experience.

Most district teachers received a $1,200 salary increase from last school year to this one. That amount reflects a $500 base increase the district approved last year and the $700 step increase every teacher receives. But the three district teachers with more than 29 years of experience only received the $500 base increase, a one-time supplement.

After discussing the issue extensively, the District Improvement Team decided to recommend to the School Board a salary schedule adjustment that will allow teachers to receive salary increases for an additional five years of experience, up to 34 total years of experience and the equivalent of 35 steps on the salary schedule.

The adjustment will apply only to teachers who hold a bachelor's degree plus 45 credit hours of continued education, a master's degree plus 45 credit hours or a doctorate.

In addition to the three teachers who already have surpassed the limits of the salary schedule, about "a half dozen or so" teachers will exceed 30 years of experience in the next couple of years, Superintendent Steve Jones said.

Jones, a member of the District Improvement Team along with school principals and teacher and staff representatives, said he approves of the proposal even though it will create budgetary issues.

"I am going to make a recommendation that the board take action and approve this thing," Jones said Wednesday.

Jones said he's unsure what the School Board's position will be. "There just may be a sense that 30 years is enough," Jones said. "I don't think it will be a slam dunk. There are some issues around this thing."

The School Board also will have to discuss whether the adjustment should be approved retroactively to compensate the teachers who haven't received increases the past two school years, Jones said. The cost to the district will be about $2,800 if the School Board approves the plan and decides to retroactively reimburse eligible teachers.

-- To reach Brent Boyer call 871-4234

or e-mail bboyer@steamboatpilot.com

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