School district employees approved for salary step increase


Local school district staff members approved their salary and benefits package for the 2009-10 school year.

The Steamboat Springs School District's staff voted, 175-13, to accept a proposal Thursday from the district's Collaborative Bargaining Team that would grant them salary step increases - $325,000 of the district's more than $31 million budget - but not increase their base salaries. Three staff members abstained from the vote.

The bargaining team worked for months to draft the proposal that included salary and benefits. The vote included administrators, teachers, office staff, bus drivers, custodians and food service employees.

Ann Keating, basic life training teacher at Steamboat Springs Middle School and a member of the Steamboat Springs Education Association, the teachers' union, said in her 26 years in the district, she seen all sorts of things.

She said it's been "quite a while" since the staff wasn't given raises in addition to step increases. But, Keating said, the staff is aware of the district's financial position as a result of the struggling economy.

"There are many districts where there's mandatory furlough time, decreased pay or frozen pay," she said. "We understand the reality of where we are."

Keating said the bargaining team would reconvene in the fall, after the October student count, to see how much per-pupil funding the state will provide the district. At that time, she said, there is a possibility for raises.

Had the staff not approved the proposal, the district's administration would have to revisit the budget, Superintendent Shalee Cunningham said last week. Cunningham said she was pleased the vote passed, but was never very concerned it wouldn't.

State statutes require the Steamboat Springs School Board to adopt the budget by June 30.


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