Roger Good: Local control vital
It is often said that perception is reality.
But when it comes to perceived school board actions, a careful examination will show that perception is not an accurate view of reality.
In the past two years, Steamboat Springs school teachers have received salary increases that cumulatively are the highest two-year increases in many years.
■ According to the Colorado Department of Education, of the 195 school districts and BOCES areas, Steamboat is in the top 10 percent on teacher compensation.
■ Of the 160 districts with fewer than 250 teachers, Steamboat is in the top four percent for teacher compensation.
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Benefit package increases during the past two years include;
■ The district absorbed more than an 18 percent increase in insurance premiums with no cost passed on to employees.
■ Increased flexibility in the use of leave policies.
As everyone agrees, we have great schools in Steamboat Springs thanks to teachers, administrators, our community and the parents who instill the value of education into each of their children.
While being the best in Colorado (currently the No. 2-ranked district), Colorado is not at the top in the United States, and the U.S. is no longer the top in the world.
I view our current position as being at the starting line for the race where continuous improvement takes our academic accomplishment to new heights.
The Steamboat Springs School District employee union’s portrayal of some hidden agenda is difficult to address because, as reported in the Steamboat Today, the “perceived political motives of the candidates and school board president Roger Good,” does not match reality.
Yes, I did meet with a group of Front Range school board members to discuss URA’s and TIF’s. In fact, I meet regularly with school board members across the state as a routine part of board activities. And, as most readers know, I applied for the CD3 seat on the state board of education. With that application, I was proud to submit letters of recommendation from school board members and superintendents from Steamboat Springs, Soroco, Huerfano, Archuleta, Moffat, Mancos and the North Routt Charter School. These recommendations were the result of similar meetings that took place at restaurants across the state.
If the question is, “Are there things related to unions in Steamboat that I have concerns about?” the answer is yes. I am concerned about teacher representation to both the administration and board. Current policy states that, in order to be at the negotiating table with the administration and board, there is a requirement to be members of the teachers union.
I think these negotiations should be open to all teachers, independent of union affiliation. I think it is wrong to set a system in place that requires money to be sent to the state teachers union in Denver in order to negotiate with our local administration and board.
The final item mentioned was the Colorado Association of School Boards membership. I have serious questions about the value CASB brings for high-performing districts similar to Steamboat. CASB membership renewal has been on auto-renewal for years, and given that it is a school board organization, I believe our board must consider the value and consider renewal on an annual basis. As reported earlier, our 2015-16 budget is forecast to use $400,000 of reserves. Optional, fee-based memberships must be examined closely when money comes from reserves.
Local control is vital to our schools. I would hope that all candidates raising money for local elections would only accept money from Steamboat residents rather than out-of-town organizations with catchy names.
Steamboat Springs School Board
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The Longevity Project event, sponsored by Steamboat Pilot & Today, has shifted from in-person to virtual. The keynote speaker Kevin Hines contracted COVID-19, and he will now be presenting his talk remotely.