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BOCES education group doesn’t extend leader’s contract

Toothaker had requested to return next year

— The Northwest Colorado Board of Cooperative Educational Services Board of Directors emerged from a nearly hour-long executive session Thursday night and took no action regarding a request from Executive Director Jane Toothaker.

When asked whether the BOCES board would act on a proposal to extend Toothaker’s contract through the 2012-13 school year at a later date, President Brian Hoza said board members probably wouldn’t.

Toothaker retired in May, but she agreed to return at a lesser salary in a reduced role for the next two academic years under provisions of the state’s Public Employees’ Retirement Asso­ci­ation. Her contract is set to expire after the 2011-12 school year.



Given BOCES’ financial situation — it is recovering from carrying a deficit from 2008-09 to 2009-10 and expected statewide cuts to K-12 education — Hoza said the board wasn’t comfortable extending Toothaker’s contract.

“Without giving up too much information, we have no intention of committing ourselves that far in the future,” he said. Hoza declined to provide more specifics about the closed-door discussion.



In other action, board members accepted the preliminary 2011-12 budget, but reserved the right to not approve proposed salary step increases for employees when adopting the budget in May.

Many of the BOCES board members, who represent six Northwest Colorado school districts, including Steamboat Springs, Hayden and South Routt, said their districts were proposing salary freezes next year. Several members said they couldn’t approve step increases for BOCES employees, but not their district’s employees.

“It would be hard for me to explain to my staff people that you didn’t get a raise, but this person did,” said Mike Thompson, representing the East Grand School District.

“If I had to vote tonight, I wouldn’t vote for it,” said West Grand School District representative Larry Banman, who said a lot could happen with state budget cuts before May’s meeting.

Toothaker clarified to board members that the step increases did not come from member district assessments, but special education funding.

The 2011-12 preliminary budget of $3.24 million is about $50,000 less than this year’s, but includes a 6 percent general fund reduction based on expected cuts to K-12 education. The budget starts the year with a fund balance of more than $307,000, left over from 2011-12.


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