New school taking shape; board passes teacher compensation package and resolution on definition of education
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Construction on the new Sleeping Giant School is moving along quickly, as are the projects on the other campuses, Steamboat Springs School District Board of Education member Katy Lee said in an update at the August 17 meeting.
The $52.5 million preK through eighth-grade school in Steamboat II is scheduled to open for the 2021-22 school year.
Steamboat II trails have now been reopened, Lee said — a significant milestone.
The water and sewer lines serving the new building have been completed, which are tied into the Steamboat II Metro District.
Water lines were flushed last week, with samples taken for testing.
Foundation work continues, Lee said, including underground plumbing and electrical work.
For earthwork, a water truck is being used for dust mitigation.
Yampa Valley Electrical Association has one more power pole to install near the main entrance to the school.
Construction on the new roundabout on Routt County Road 42 began last week, and drivers should anticipate some traffic control measures. That project is estimated to last about a month and a half.
Lee said a contractor has been hired to help with local art procurement — the process of selecting artists and artwork for display in the new building.
At other Steamboat schools, many of the projects also funded by the $79.5 million, 20-year bond measure are well underway, Lee said.
They are now in the phase of finishing up, in preparation for Monday — when students return to the classroom for the first time since March.
Renovations and additions have begun at Soda Creek Elementary School, Strawberry Park Elementary School, Steamboat Springs Middle School and the Seventh Street building, which houses the Yampa Valley High School and the Boys & Girls Club of Steamboat Springs. The additions to the North Routt Community Charter School and Steamboat Springs High School are still in the design phase.
At Soda Creek, concrete is being poured on the second floor, and a new sidewalk — with snowmelt — has been completed in front of the building.
The new artificial turf athletic field will be installed at the middle school this week, Lee said, though it required some extra earthwork after finding the structural integrity of the dirt underneath the turf was inadequate.
Teacher compensation approved
In other district business, board members unanimously passed a new teacher compensation package, largely funded by 4A, the ballot measure passed in the November and aimed at raising teacher salaries.
After months of negotiations, district staff voted July 31 on the proposal reached by the Steamboat Springs School District Bargaining Team.
Ninety-seven percent of staff voted yes to the plan that raises the starting salary for teachers to $43,600 and raises the maximum amount for a licensed teacher to $102,330.
Previously, the salary schedule — dictated in a series of steps and determined by education and years worked — ranged from approximately $38,500 to $84,000.
In the new package, seven steps were added to the schedule.
Classified staff will see an average annual pay increase of 7%. Administrators — not including the superintendent — will see an average increase of 4%.
Some of the increases — including an increase in health care premiums and additional pay for teachers who also coach or teach extracurricular clubs or classes — will be funded by the district outside of the 4A money.
The board also unanimously approved a resolution giving more flexibility in how education is defined for the 2020-21 school year.
Beginning last spring, said Steamboat Springs School District Superintendent Brad Meeks, it has been “truly unprecedented in how we are addressing education and how the impact of the pandemic affects current laws, statutes and guidelines on how we deliver instruction.”
Meeks said it was recommended by the Colorado Association of School Boards as well as the district’s legal counsel to pass a resolution that defines what the education process looks like in the district for this particular year.
While the district is starting with the hybrid model — students alternating in-person and at-home learning days — that model could change at any time, potentially going in the direction of more remote learning.
The resolution, Meeks said, allows flexibility in defining things like contact hours and how attendance is taken.
According to the resolution, “local boards may define ‘the educational process’ as including instruction delivered electronically and/or other types of independent, remote work time for students that is provided under the supervision of a certified or licensed teacher.”
The resolution will expire at the end of the school year.
To reach Kari Dequine Harden, call 970-871-4205, email kharden@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @kariharden.
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The Steamboat Springs Board of Education and the Steamboat Springs Education Association agreed to a new collective bargaining agreement Monday night, giving licensed teachers an average pay bump of 5.5% for next year.