Steamboat Springs An audience of about 20 Steamboat Springs School District teachers gave thanks to the School Board on Monday night after a 4-1 vote to approve salary step pay raises for eligible faculty and staff for this school year.
The Collaborative Bargaining Team, which negotiates the district’s salaries, submitted the proposal to the Steamboat Springs School Board. The bargaining team and the Steamboat Springs Education Association, the district’s teachers union, previously had approved it.
“We voted to get this package together very thoughtfully and with much consideration,” said Babette Dickson, president of the teachers union and a member of the bargaining team. “We’re very happy a majority of the board approved it.”
The bargaining team agreed in spring to not provide employees with salary step increases or cost-of-living adjustments for this school year. However, it agreed to revisit the deal after the official Oct. 1 student count, which determines the amount of per-pupil funding the district receives.
With nearly 50 new full-time equivalent students, the district
got a boost of unexpected income. After restoring some of the positions that were cut last year, Steamboat found itself with nearly $291,000 additional revenue.
School Board member Laura Anderson cast the lone dissenting vote. Anderson said she would have favored the additional funding be used for one-time bonuses instead of increasing the district’s future base salary commitment to employees.
“I’d rather we maintain a base level we’re able to achieve so we don’t have to do any more layoffs,” Anderson said, citing the district’s cut of more than 30 employees before this school year.
In a separate 3-2 vote Monday, the School Board approved salary step increases for administrators, which cost $23,606. With the faculty and staff salary step increases, the total cost is $290,711.
Anderson and School Board member Denise Connelly opposed the administrator raises. Connelly said she voted against the step increase because she had asked for, but not yet received, a survey comparing salaries of district administrators from nearby school systems.
School Board member Brian Kelly said he had gone back and forth on the administrator raises but decided in favor of them.
School Board President Robin Crossan praised the teachers.
“You guys are doing a phenomenal job,” she said. “Our teachers are fantastic. Our staff is terrific. The students do the work, but you’re the ones behind them.”