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Small pay increase offered to district staff

USD 398 decides not to freeze salaries

Staff writer

While school board members struggled all year with a declining budget and an economy on the skids, they still were able to offer faculty, staff, and administrators a raise — albeit a small one — at the June meeting.

An earlier negotiated agreement between the teachers and the board allowed USD 398 faculty to retain salary increments that normally constitute a part of any negotiated salary increase.

The increments represent the number of years a teacher has been in the district as well as any additional education credits he or she may have acquired.

On a motion by Duke Eldridge, the board unanimously approved raising salaries of administrators by 0.6 percent.

After the vote, Superintendent Rex Watson, high school administrators Tim Robertson and Ray Savage, and elementary administrator Ken Parry declined the pay increases for the 2009-10 school year.

After discussion, Eldridge made a second motion to accept the offer of the administrators to decline the pay increase. The motion also carried unanimously.

“A lot of districts just froze salaries,” Watson said. “We were fortunate enough not to have to do that this year. We were able to provide small salary increases and let everyone move up on the pay scale.”

Watson said the steps represent about 0.6 percent of a teacher’s salary.

“It doesn’t sound like much,” he said. “But especially when you are talking about the younger teachers, if they don’t get those increments, that is money that they will never be able to make up.

“We thought it was important to try to do at least that much.”

Classified salaries increased by the same amount. Classified personnel are secretaries, para-professionals, maintenance staff, and cooks.

Another cost-cutting measure reached fruition when the board agreed to sell the former Burns vocational education/lunchroom building to the City of Burns for $1. Insurance and upkeep on the structure was costing the district several thousand dollars a year. The district no longer uses the building.

Closing costs for the sale will be divided equally between the city and the school district, and possession will transfer to the city Saturday.

In other business:

  • Seasonal maintenance/grounds work jobs for Caden Middleton and Jacob Middleton were approved.
  • Outgoing board members Duke Eldridge and Rhonda Loucks were recognized for their years of service to the district.
  • State-recommended minimum price increases for adult meals to $1.75 for breakfast and $2.95 for lunch were approved.
  • After a presentation by Watson and Savage comparing the number of sand-green golf teams to grass-green golf teams in the state and league, the board approved to change from sand-green golf to grass-green golf for the 2009-10 school year. Peabody-Burns golf team members will travel to Newton to practice next year.
  • Unanimous approval was given for year-end transfers as needed with a split in capital outlay funds and contingency reserve fund transfers as suggested to close out the 2008-09 fiscal year.

Last modified July 2, 2009

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