An evaluation-based pay system for Steamboat Springs School District teachers isn't in jeopardy because of a financial analysis estimating the system will cost the district $600,000 a year more than it currently pays employees, district officials said.
The results of the analysis, which was performed by Denver-based school system auditor Doug Rose, doesn't endanger the future of the Knowledge and Skills-Based Pay system, School Board President Paula Stephenson said Monday.
Stephenson said she anticipated the system would come with a higher price tag than the estimated average increase of $608,000 a year over current salary costs.
"I thought it was going to be a lot worse," Stephenson said. "I'm pleasantly surprised, and I think we have a lot of room to maneuver."
Teacher and Steamboat Springs Education Association member Brad Kindred also expressed optimism for the future of KSBP.
"They are just projected numbers," Kindred said of Rose's analysis. "I think it's doable."
The School Board is scheduled to discuss KSBP at its meeting Monday. The board likely will discuss exactly how much the district can afford to spend annually when it comes to the pay and evaluation system.
"What we do now is talk about the results (of the analysis) amongst the School Board members to decide at what level it's financially feasible," Stephenson said.
That discussion could involve other sources of revenue and adjustments to the still-under-development KSBP system, she said.
The financial impact of KSBP and its affordability for the district has long been a worry of district officials. Those concerns were expressed by some then-School Board members at a September 2003 retreat.
At that retreat, Tom Sharp raised the possibility of implementing a veto mechanism to allow the superintendent to prevent a teacher from advancing up the KSBP pay scale if the district couldn't afford the raise.
The issue of veto power and quotas on the number of teachers who can reach the top level of the pay scale at any given time upset teachers and SSEA representatives. School Board members quickly sought to clarify their comments and explain their legal responsibility to keep the district financially responsible.
Now that numbers have been attached to the KSBP system, School Board members remain confident the district will find a way to make the progressive pay system work while maintaining the goals of KSBP -- recruiting and retaining good teachers and support staff.
"We need to make sure the original intent is still going to be addressed, and I don't have any doubt it will be," School Board member Pat Gleason said.