Steamboat School Board approves administrative salaries, contract extension for Meeks

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— A month ago, the Steamboat Springs School Board approved Supertindentent Brad Meeks’ push to adopt a uniform administrative salary system, one that scores positions based on experience and job requirements.

It’s a structured system Meeks hopes will better define administrator roles as well as pay scales. But in the May 19 board meeting, the panel accepted the system without specifying actual dollar figures for salaries.

In Monday night’s board meeting — the final regularly scheduled meeting of the 2013-14 school year — Meeks presented four different administrator salary options to fill in the new schedule for 2014-15. The options all included salary increases, ranging from a 1 to 2.5 percent increase to market.

In a four-to-five vote, the board resolved to pass a 2 percent salary increase above the median income for administrative positions under the new system. The median incomes were based on a salary survey the district conducted.

The newly minted salary schedule "grandfathers in" those administrators who already are earning more annually than where the schedule would place them based on points earned, which means they won’t receive board-approved income bumps — like Monday night’s 2 percent increase — until the number of step increases approved catches up with their current salary level.

In approving the 2 percent salary increase Monday night, only three administrators would be “grandfathered in.”

“My recommendation was to get the board to consider the 2 or 2.5 percent increase because it gets more administrators on level,” the superintendent said. “It’s not a perfect system, but based on conversations with the administrators and board members, it’s much better than we’ve had, and it’s understandable.”

And it’s fair, the board agreed. District teachers will receive a 5.5 percent salary increase for 2014-15, and support staff will get a 5.05 percent bump with their step increase.

“We heard from a lot of staff about the administrative salary schedule,” Board President Rebecca Williams said. “There was a lot of misinformation about this. The most common issue was that administrators were getting a big salary increase, and they (administrators) didn’t.”

Board member Robin Crossan said it was critical the district get its teaching staff on an annual salary that placed them over the median market salary for their positions.

Without Meeks’ contract included, the total administrative salaries for 2014-15 will reach a little more than $1.4 million and will cost the district $43,735 more than in 2013-14.

Following the board’s approval of 2014-15 administrative salaries, it unanimiously voted in favor of a three-year contract extension for Meeks.

“I feel if we’re going to be fair, we have to be fair with all people every year,” Crossan said regarding salaries for all district employees.

The superintendent’s new contract will run through June 2017 and includes a 2.5 percent pay increase, from $165,000 annually to $169,125. It also includes slight enhancements in vacation options and to his severance package should the board resolve to terminate his contract early.

Other highlights from Monday’s board meeting

• The board plans to try to reconvene with the leaders of the Steamboat Springs Middle School field house project in the next several weeks to possibly finalize a contract.

• Chris Johnson accepted the annual Friend of Education award, given out by the board each year to an active volunteer in the district who dedicates considerable time and energy to the district and supports school activities.

• The board accepted Rebecca Williams’ resignation as board member and president. It has 60 days to fill her board seat. The board elected Roger Good as its new president to replace Williams. It set the application deadline to fill Williams’ seat for noon on July 14 and scheduled interviews for July 17 starting at 5:30 p.m.

To reach Ben Ingersoll, call 970-871-4204, email bingersoll@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @BenMIngersoll

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