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Teacher pay shift uncertain

Financial constraints may prohibit South Routt proposal

Brent Boyer

The South Routt School District’s tight financial situation likely will prevent longtime teachers from getting experience-based raises.

Superintendent Steve Jones said he wasn’t sure how the School Board would vote if a proposed restructuring that would add five years to the district’s pay schedule is brought before it for approval, but based on the board’s discussion of the issue at last week’s meeting, he’s skeptical of the potential outcome.

“I think it’s going to be a tough haul,” Jones said Tuesday. “I think I’d be surprised if the board added those five years, mainly because of our financial situation.”

School Board President Hank deGanahl couldn’t be reached for comment.

Jones asked the School Board on Thursday to discuss a proposal that would allow South Routt teachers with more than 29 years experience to continue to receive pay increases until they reached 34 years of experience. The district’s current pay schedule doesn’t provide base salary increases for teachers with more than 29 years experience.

The proposal was spurred after a teacher expressed concern he or she wouldn’t receive a salary increase because of pay schedule limitations. Most school districts have similar limitations.

Three South Routt teachers have more than 29 years experience and at least a half dozen more will reach that threshold in the next couple of years. The standard annual pay increase for district teachers is $700.

The District Improvement Team, comprised of Jones, district principals, and teacher and support staff representatives, discussed the proposal at length before deciding to bring it to the School Board for discussion. The DIT didn’t request the board take action on the proposal.

The School Board’s discussion on the proposal centered on three points: the value and dedication of veteran staff members, the financial impact of extending the pay schedule and the challenges the district would face in aligning resources with areas of need within the district, Jones said.

“It’s going to be a tough decision for (the School Board) because they don’t want to send a message that they don’t value these teachers,” Jones said.

Declining district enrollment has taken its toll on the school system, which had to cut a principal position and two teaching positions before this school year to meet budget constraints.

Jones said he will discuss the proposal with the DIT in January before deciding whether to ask the School Board to take action on it.

— To reach Brent Boyer call 871-4234

or e-mail bboyer@steamboatpilot.com


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