Thursday, September 11, 2003
Unable to find a new leader at its membership meeting this week, the Steamboat Springs Education Association will continue to operate without a president.
Members of the teachers association's executive board will share the duties normally assigned its president, SSEA vice president and eighth-grade science teacher Brad Kindred said Thursday.
"We're still going to be a major player in the district," Kindred said. "We'll just keep plugging on."
The president's post has been vacant since Mike Smith resigned in June after budget cuts in the Steamboat Springs School District eliminated paid release time for the SSEA leader.
At the time of his resignation, Smith, who served as SSEA president for two years, said having to return to full-time teaching while fulfilling the many duties of the president would shortchange his responsibility as a teacher, parent and husband.
The school district granted Smith paid release time for the 2002-03 school year to help him balance his duties as a high school math teacher with those as lead representative for the SSEA. Under the agreement, Smith was able to cut his teaching duties in half while continuing to receive his full salary.
"It was unfortunate Mike Smith resigned, but his resignation was justified," Kindred said. "When the district took away his half-time release, he could no longer do the job."
SSEA executive board members Bo Yennie, Mike Johnson, Lucianne Myhre, Kindred and Smith, in addition to association representatives from each district school, will divide up the group's numerous responsibilities, including membership seats on district committees and teams and political action work, Kindred said.
About 91 percent of the district's certified employees are SSEA members, Kindred said. The group also is increasing its membership among support staff.
"I think we've become the voice of the district," Kindred said. "Teachers have got to have representation of some sort."
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