School Board calls special meeting

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Several time-sensitive issues will be the focus of a special meeting of the Steamboat Springs School Board tonight.

Unable to find a suitable meeting date in July, the School Board instead will meet at 6:30 p.m. today in the Northwest Colorado Board of Cooperative Educational Services, or NWBOCES, meeting room. The room is on the second floor of the school district's administrative building on Seventh Street.

At the top of the agenda is approving salary increases for district certified and support staff. The increases, which will take effect for the upcoming school year, inadvertently were left off the agenda for the June School Board meeting, at which board members approved administrative salary increases.

"It should have been approved at the same time the administrator salaries were approved," Superintendent Donna Howell said Tuesday. Howell said she has received phone calls from some district employees upset that their salary increases weren't approved at the same time as those of administrators.

"Their concern is valid," Howell said.

Certified teacher salary increases are expected to include a 2.25 percent step increase for eligible employees and a 0.88 percent competitive market adjustment. Support staff increases are anticipated to include a step increase of 4 percent and a 1.18 percent competitive market adjustment. District administrators will receive a 2.25 percent base salary increase and a 1.87 percent competitive market adjustment.

Teachers and support staff will receive a lower competitive market adjustment than administrators because of a provision in the negotiated salary policy that calls for 1 percent to be subtracted from the competitive market adjustment for the 2004-05 school year. Administrative salaries aren't subject to the negotiated policy. The provision was included in the district's interim salary schedule because employees were supposed to be working under the Knowledge and Skills-Based Pay system, which would have included larger step increases than the traditional staff salary schedule. KSBP was scrapped by the School Board earlier this year after it determined the plan to be unaffordable.

At tonight's meeting, the School Board also is expected to declare a critical shortage for its nutritional services director position.

Longtime nutritional services director Roberta Gill retired at the end of last school year, but the district hasn't found a replacement. Declaring a critical shortage with the Colorado Public Employees' Retirement Association will allow the district to re-hire Gill in a temporary position until a permanent replacement is hired. Under the provisions of an approved critical shortage, Gill can collect her retirement benefits from PERA while working for and receiving a salary from the school district.

Also on the agenda, the School Board will vote whether to accept a resolution expressing its desire to be the exclusive chartering authority for the district. A law passed during the latest legislative session created a State Charter Institute, which is empowered to grant charters in lieu of local school boards. But the School Board plans to take advantage of a small district exemption in the law that allows school systems with less than 3,000 students to retain local control over chartering. Charter applicants denied by their local school districts are permitted to go to the state for charter approval.

-- To reach Brent Boyer call 871-4234

or e-mail bboyer@steamboatpilot.com

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