Schools negotiating salaries, benefits


With the school year already in full swing, Steamboat Springs School District administrators, teachers and staff members continue to negotiate a salary and benefits package.

The district's Collaborative Bargaining Team met last week and discussed a revised package proposed by district administrators.

The proposal boosts salary increases for some support staff employees. The 12 staff members who would have received less than a 2 percent salary increase in a package voted down by employees in June would be given at least a 2 percent increase in the new package. Also, the four support staff members who are at the top of their salary schedules and would not have received a raise would be given a one-time, 1-percent salary increase.

The revised package, which still is being negotiated, would give support staff members an average salary increase of 4.5 percent, which includes a salary step increase and a cost-of-living adjustment. The previous proposal included an average support-staff salary increase of about 4 percent.

The new proposal would cost the district an additional $10,000.

Steve Schibline, a maintenance worker at Steamboat Springs Middle School and a district bus driver, said the changes are positive but more could be done for support staff members. Schibline is the custodial and maintenance staff representative on the Collaborative Bargaining Team.

"I think we're moving in the right direction," Schibline said. "We need to keep talking, we need to figure it out."

Schibline said a salary in----crease of 2 percent isn't much considering increased costs of gasoline and living expenses. He also thought employees who are maxed out on the salary schedule should be given small salary increases because of their commitment to the district.

Schibline said he and some other CBT members wanted to see administrative policies explaining how the new paid-leave policy would be handled and said they wanted to see that policy fine-tuned.

Superintendent Donna How--ell said she hopes the issues could be resolved as quickly as possible to get a salary and benefits package back to a vote by all district employees.

Any salary increases that are part of an approved plan will be applied retroactively.

The Collaborative Bargaining Team, which includes teacher, support staff, administrative and School Board representation, meets Tuesday, and two additional meetings are scheduled for October. Howell said she hopes to hammer out a package at the next meeting so conversations can begin on a salary and benefits package for next year.

-- To reach Susan Cunningham, call 871-4203

or e-mail


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