Administrator raises approved |

Administrator raises approved

Monday's meeting was last for Superintendent Smyser

Zach Fridell

— The Steamboat Springs School Board voted Monday to give district administrators a pay raise of up to 3 percent, an amount equal to the average pay increase for teachers.

The board approved the raises by a 3-2 vote. The raises will range from about a half percent to nearly 3 percent based on the administrator’s current salary in relation to other administrators in similar positions around the state.

Board members Denise Connelly and John DeVincentis voted against the proposed contracts, advocating slightly smaller raises because of the benefits already in administrator contracts.

DeVincentis said he supported a maximum raise of 2.5 percent because administrators pay less than teachers in insurance costs for additional family members.

“I’d like to see us begin to recognize where the real work is being done,” he said, adding that he would prefer the board to focus on attracting and retaining quality teachers.

Contracts for administrators are up for review annually and are negotiated separately from faculty and staff contracts. The board in late August voted to approve faculty and staff raises of a half-percent across the board, plus annual increases for experience. The total raises averaged about 3 percent overall.

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Also discussed at the meeting, which included 20 agenda items and took more than three hours, was the district’s budget for the next school year. District Finance Director Dale Mellor told the board that revenue increased to $20.81 million for the 2008-09 school year, an increase of $342,080 from this past school year.

Friends of Education

Friends of Education award recipients Julie Taulman, Shelly St. Pierre and Ed MacArthur were presented with plaques by the board for their service to Steamboat Springs schools. Taulman and St. Pierre were awarded by board member Laura Anderson for their work organizing and fundraising for new universal playgrounds designed for children of all physical abilities. The new playgrounds will be installed at Soda Creek and Strawberry Park elementary schools.

MacArthur was singled out by board President Robin Crossan for in-kind donations from his company, Native Excavating, and his role in the creation of the turf field at the high school.

“Ever since I moved here, I heard about this guy Ed,” Crossan said as she met MacArthur in person for the first time.

Smyser farewell

Monday’s board meeting was the last for interim Superintendent Sandra Smyser. Board members complimented her on her performance as superintendent while also acknowledging the difficulties the district has faced during the year, including the contract buyout of former superintendent Donna Howell and the recent non-renewal of Steamboat Springs High School Principal Mike Knezevich’s contract.

Crossan presented Smyser with a gift and said, “It’s been a very interesting year.”

The board then took turns wishing Smyser farewell.

“You’re done an exceptional job for us and got us moving in the right direction,” DeVincentis said. “We’ve had a great year with you, and I wish you all the best.”

Anderson said she was impressed by Smyser’s resiliency during the year.

“We put you through the wringer, and you kept smiling the whole time,” she said.

Smyser also presented the board with several updates, including a potential decrease in tuition for all-day kindergarten students and a report from Harris Interactive Surveys, which reported an error in their survey process that will void some data from middle and high school students.

– To reach Zach Fridell, call 871-4208 or e-mail

Discussion items

Items from Monday’s Steamboat Springs School Board meeting:

– Friends of Education Award presented

– Adoption of 2008-09 budget

– Colorado Growth Model presentation

– Administrator salaries approved

– Error in district survey will result in fewer results

– Approval of emergency generator for Steamboat Springs Middle School

– Soda Creek Elementary School construction update

– All-day kindergarten update

– Increase in school lunch fee discussed

– Expulsion committee and policies update