Re-1 board OKs teacher, staff pay raises |

Re-1 board OKs teacher, staff pay raises

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – Roaring Fork School District Re-1 teachers and staff will see their first pay raise in four years, under a spending plan approved by the Re-1 school board Tuesday as part of the proposed 2012-13 budget.

However, the decision to increase wages by an average of 3.5 percent next year does not mean that the district is in a position to continue pay raises in future years.

“We do want to reiterate to staff that there are no guarantees that we will be able to continue with salary schedule advancement,” Re-1 Assistant Superintendent of Business Services Shannon Pelland said during the special Tuesday board meeting to consider the salary proposal.

State funding for school districts in future years remains uncertain. Even with the local voter-approved mill levy override last fall that will generate $4.8 million per year, the district cannot commit to additional increases beyond next year, she said.

Next year’s wage increase will be the first for Re-1 employees since 2008-09. However, teachers and other district staff did receive a one-time bonus of up to $1,500 in February, using new mill levy funds that were available for the 2011-12 budget year.

Pelland and other members of the district’s Interest-Based Bargaining (IBB) Team salary and budget committee presented the salary recommendations, along with a spending plan for the new mill levy override funds.

The school board approved the plan 4-0. Board President Matt Hamilton abstained from voting because his wife is a teacher in the district. Re-1 includes public schools in Glenwood Springs, Carbondale and Basalt.

The IBB Team was given a list of about $8 million in potential new spending, including several programs, staff positions and other spending that had been cut in recent years in the face of ongoing state budget cuts.

Wage increases alone will cost Re-1 slightly more than $1.1 million per year. Of that, about $250,500 is to come from the new mill levy override funds, and about $859,000 from unexpected revenues coming into the district’s general fund.

Roughly $1 million in additional new revenues are projected for next year. That will come from a combination of increased specific ownership taxes to the school district, unanticipated enrollment growth, and savings in several areas, Pelland said.

Also included in the salary package will be increases in the district’s share of employee health insurance and retirement benefits, at a combined cost of about $731,000.

Other mill levy override spending approved by the school board Tuesday included:

• $821,000 to hire back 15 teaching positions across the district. Thirteen of those positions were eliminated this year in the face of ongoing state budget cuts, while two are new positions based on an expected enrollment increase for the 2012-13 school year.

• $300,000 to retain six teaching positions that were paid for using reserve funds this year.

• $300,000 for new curriculum and technology purchases and related teacher training.

• $298,000 to eliminate previously budgeted furlough days.

• $190,000 to restore school materials and supplies budgets that were cut.

• $155,000 to retain four custodian positions that were reinstated earlier this year.

• $121,000 allocation to the district charter Carbondale Community School.

• $100,000 to hire back two maintenance/grounds staff positions.

• $25,000 to reinstate a half-time school nurse position.

• $19,800 to increase wireless Internet access across the district.

• $15,000 to reinstate the employee assistance program.

The plan also holds $700,000 in reserve for possible additional state budget cuts in 2012-13, and another $750,000 for future state budget cuts in 2013-14 and beyond.

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