In a year when many school districts have made cuts to balance the budget, sometimes including reductions in force, Park County School District 1 was able to give its staff raises and/or …
In a year when many school districts have made cuts to balance the budget, sometimes including reductions in force, Park County School District 1 was able to give its staff raises and/or stipends.
Mary Jo Lewis, district business coordinator, had told the board in April that the budget would include the pay changes.
“We are obligated to take care of the people who take care of our kids,” Superintendent Jay Curtis said. “We have made enough deductions and found enough savings that this shouldn’t be an issue.”
The salary schedule moves by steps (years of experience) and lanes, which are degree levels plus experience. For example, a first-year employee with a bachelor’s degree remains in the same lane, moving up by steps, until he or she reaches 10 years experience or earns a master’s. In either instance, the employee then changes lanes.
For either a certified teacher or certified non-teaching staff, the beginning salary is about $48,300 on a 185-day contract if they are in their first year of employment at a verified school district.
A bachelor’s degree with 30 years experience will yield $66,650, while an employee with a master’s degree and 30 years experience will earn $76,850. The top end of the scale, for a employee with a master’s and 45 years in the school system, is $80,250.
Raises for district administrators follow a complex formula of base pay at $99,600 plus a percentage multiplier for experience and responsibility factors, as does the schedule for building administrators. Administrators are not credited with years of experience, but do get bumps in pay for additional education, such as a master’s degree or doctorate.
Support staff and professionals without certification were also included in the pay increases. Food service staff got a base increase of 50 cents per hour for the head cooks and assistant cooks. Substitutes will receive the same rate as assistant cooks. Food service is in a different funding category and only a certain amount can be kept in reserve and none may be used in non-food service payments. It is independent and self-funds, according to notes from Lewis.
Insurance premiums did increase for employees. Single people in Plan B, the most often selected plan, will pay about $77 more per month, while family premiums will jump about $226. Plans C, D and E showed marginal increases, and a new plan, Plan G, is less expensive at $15 per single employee and family premiums are about $142 per month.
The board shied away from increasing the base pay for all categories, because it is more difficult to reduce that base once it has increased. Instead the choice was to give raises or stipends for various additional duties.
When it came time to vote, trustee Don Hansen voted against the raises, with trustees Kim Dillivan and Trace Paul abstaining. Each of those board members have spouses who are employees of the district. The question passed, with four “aye” one “nay” and two abstentions. The same held true when the votes were cast for the non-certified staff, with Hansen voting “nay” and Paul and Dillivan abstaining.