Wednesday, February 18, 2004
Despite a recommendation from the South Routt School District Improvement Team, Superintendent Steve Jones is not optimistic a proposed staff salary schedule adjustment will be approved by the School Board.
Jones will recommend to the School Board at its meeting tonight that it move forward with a proposal to add five years to the staff salary schedule. The district's existing salary schedule grants annual increases until teachers reach 30 years of experience, after which they no longer receive an annual pay raise of $700. Many school districts use similar schedules.
The proposal to extend the salary schedule was spurred by a teacher's expressed concern he or she wouldn't receive a salary increase because of the limitations. Jones said the district employs three teachers with 30 or more years of experience and at least a half dozen more who will reach that threshold in the next couple of years.
The School Board has discussed the issue on several occasions and received input from district teachers and officials, Jones said.
He said he thought the School Board would approve the proposal if it weren't for the financial difficulties the district is facing. District enrollment has declined rapidly during the past several years, resulting in decreased revenue for the district. A principal and five teaching positions have been cut since Jones took over five years ago.
"We're all in a quandary here because we don't want to send the message that we don't value these teachers, but we really have a difficult financial road ahead with declining enrollment," Jones said. "If we had increasing enrollment, I don't think it would be a problem."
Jones estimates the cost of implementing the proposal to be $4,800 for the 2004-05 school year and between $5,000 and $15,000 for subsequent years, depending on how many teachers with more than 30 years of experience stay with the district.
The District Improvement Team, consisting of Jones, both principals and teacher and support staff representatives, is recommending the School Board approve the proposal.
School Board President Hank deGanahl and Vice President Dawn Ford didn't immediately return phone messages seeking comment.
The School Board also is expected to discuss the process by which it will find a superintendent to replace Jones when he retires at the end of the 2004-05 school year. DeGanahl suggested the group begin outlining how it will select its next leader. Among the decisions the board could make include whether to conduct the search itself and whether to look at external or internal candidates.
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