School Board mulls raises

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The Hayden School Board tonight will consider a proposal to raise salaries for teachers and support staff by 1 percent.

That is the amount set aside for raises in the proposed 2005-06 budget, though the board plans to discuss whether the district might provide a bigger salary boost, superintendent Mike Luppes said.

Each year, returning teachers receive step pay increases based on their educational background and time with the district. On top of that, they also may receive a cost-of-living increase, which is what the board will consider tonight.

The school district has been discussing possible raises with the Hayden Education Association, the local teachers union. The union proposed a 2 percent raise. Kevin Dellitt, president of the HEA, was not available for comment.

The board has some flexibility in deciding about pay raises. Last school year, for example, the board doled out part of the raises in the fall and waited until winter -- when officials had a better idea of student enrollment and funding -- to pay the rest.

"We want to be able to take care of the teachers we have here," Luppes said. "We feel that's important, and we're going to work hard to take care of that."

The School Board also must decide how raises will be distributed. For the 2004-05 school year, the district averaged 1 percent of each teacher's salary and added the fixed amount to each teacher's pay.

The other alternative is to give each teacher or staff member a percentage raise of their individual salary.

The choice presents a tough dilemma: Raising each teacher's salary by a percentage provides more benefit to longtime teachers but hardly raises the base salary, which attracts new teachers to the district.

Currently, the base salary for a first year teacher with a bachelor's degree is $27,420. The district "would love" to get that number up to $28,000, Luppes said.

Also tonight, the board will consider adopting a final budget for the 2005-06 school year. The proposed budget includes spending cuts including the reduction of two teachers at the elementary school.

The School Board will meet at 7 p.m. in the Hayden High School videoconference room.

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