School Board discusses potential administrator raises |

School Board discusses potential administrator raises

Jack Weinstein

Editor’s note: The original version of this story incorrectly reported that the School Board approved 1 percent raises for Steamboat Springs School District administrators. No such raises were authorized at Monday’s School Board meeting.

The Steamboat Springs School Board is considering whether to give 1 percent raises to district administrators and directors this year.

Superintendent Shalee Cunningham told the School Board during its meeting Monday night that the district initially wasn’t sure whether it could afford the raises, and that officials held off on a decision while the 2009-10 budget was being drafted. Including the increased cost of benefits, the salary increases for administrators would cost the district about $12,000.

Throughout the summer, the district’s Collaborative Bargaining Team approved an agreement with the district that would provide staff members with salary step increases – at a cost of $325,000 of the district’s $22 million budget – but not increases to their base salaries.

The School Board could consider whether to formally act on the raises during its Nov. 16 meeting.

Also at Monday’s meeting:

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– Cunningham emphatically recommended Steamboat Springs Middle School’s Jerry Buelter as a nominee for the state’s Assistant Principal of the Year honor.

She cited Buelter’s leadership, with Principal Tim Bishop, for the middle school being one of the most accomplished in the state in terms of the Colorado State Assessment Program test scores.

After his nomination, Buelter credited that partnership with Bishop, and the freedom with which Bishop allows him to do his job as reasons for his success at the school.

The honor is bestowed by the Colorado Assocation of School Executives. Should Buelter win, he’ll be eligible for the National Assistant Principal of the Year award.

– Cunningham presented board members with the Oct. 1 student count, which determines how much per-pupil funding the district will receive via the state’s public school finance formula.

The enrollment is as follows: Soda Creek Elementary School, 460 students; Strawberry Park Elementary School, 490; Steamboat Springs Middle School, 495; and Steamboat Springs High School, 639 plus 22 students who attend the Yampa Valley School, the alternative school run by the Northwest Colorado Board of Cooperative Educational Services. That brings the district’s total to 2,106 students, up from the 2008-09 Oct. 1 count of 2,080. Neither this nor last year’s student counts include the North Routt Community Charter School, which receives its state funding through the district.

There was some concern that increased absences from suspected cases of swine flu and other illnesses would throw off the count, but the state allows districts to use a number from a week before or after Oct. 1.

– To commemorate his four years on the School Board, John DeVincentis was presented a plaque during Monday’s board meeting, his last as a board member.

The District 1 seat occupied by DeVincentis was up for election this year, but he decided not to run. The winner of the race between Brian Kelly and Bill Kennedy will be sworn in as a board member at the district’s November meeting.

DeVincentis was elected to the board after retiring from 21 years as principal of Strawberry Park Elementary School. Board President Robin Crossan said DeVincentis could have done anything after retiring, but he chose to serve his community. Crossan said she respected DeVincentis’ efforts to get at the root of district issues.

His board tenure caps a 40-year career in education, but DeVincentis said he still would volunteer in schools.

“I like it,” he said. “I like the kids. I like going into the schools.”

– Accepted three gifts from the Education Fund Board. They are $5,000 for the Community Cultivation program, $50,000 for the Partners in Routt County mentoring program, and $35,000 for the Yampa Valley Science School.

– Approved a memo of understanding with the Colorado Department of Education to participate in the state’s effort to compete for federal stimulus “Race to the Top” funding. By approving the memo, the district agrees to implement the state’s plan, participate in evaluation efforts, comply with reporting requirements, and meet requirements for project implementation, if the state is approved for some the $4.3 billion “Race to the Top” funding.

– Accepted the resignation of Ken Webbe, the high school’s athletics director. Webbe, who joined the district April 1, submitted his letter of resignation Monday, citing personal reasons. Because Webbe’s resignation was a personnel issue, Cunningham declined to provide more information. She said his resignation was effective immediately.