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The Delta Greely School Board approved a new salary schedule at its business meeting Thursday night for exempt and administrative personnel. The new schedule addresses pay changes for nonunion employees which includes principals, the assistant superintendent, school board/superintendent secretary, technology director, information technology specialist, and business manager. The new schedule is based upon pay changes that were part of the union contract currently in place and represent the same changes teachers and support staff receive each year. According to Superintendent Laural Jackson, the schedule had not been presented previously to the Board, but should have been.

Principal salaries range from $78,925 at the low end for the bottom step of an elementary school principal and $108,295 at the high end for a secondary school principal. The new assistant superintendent pay range is from $89,629 to $120,629 and technology director from $82,044 to $110,421. Other exempt administrative staff pay ranges from $37,246 to $107,701.

In other business, the board approved the sale of several items no longer in use by the district, including gym lights from the high school gym which are currently being replaced, a commercial steam kettle, a three-door freezer in need of repair, the old floor covering from the high school gym, and miscellaneous tables, desks and furniture that is currently being held in storage.

The Board also approved the travel of three students in the Business Professionals of America (BPA) chapter to attend and compete at the BPA National Leadership Conference in Anaheim, Cali April 29 to May 5. The students developed a plan for a conference, including the logistics of carrying out the conference, that earned them a spot to compete at nationals.

During a work session prior to the business meeting, the Board took a first look at policy changes concerning the dress code for students, electronic devices, and other student issues.

New language is proposed for the dress code that requires students to dress as if they are attending work.

“School, in essence, represents student’s work environment. As such, the dress should match that of customarily accepted dress of work environments in other public places,” states the proposed policy.

The policy does not address what type of work environment or what constitutes a public place.

The policy currently includes a provision that dress should not be “distracting,” but does not define who determines what distracting dress might be, nor gives any guidance on what is considered distracting.

The electronic device policy changes remove language the policy committee felt was unnecessary, and leaves the use of such devices, including cell phones, up to building administrators and staff. Students are still required to turn over such devices to school personnel during school or school sponsored events when a staff member requests the device, but no guidance is given on when the device may be confiscated by a staff member.

The Board also looked at a preliminary budget for the 2019-20 school year. The administration proposal calls for expenditures of $11,362,938, a decrease of $171,280 from the current fiscal year’s revised budget. Revenue, although uncertain due to the current state budget issues, was estimated at $11,219,195, leaving a $143,743 deficit.

The proposal is the first look the Board has had at next year’s budget and will be refined before the deadline to submit the budget for state review of July 20. Exact revenue numbers are not available until student counts are conducted in the fall, and final approval is given by the state in January of next year, so the District must work with estimates until that time. 

The current state budget proposed by the governor calls for cuts of up to 25 percent in school funding. Such a cut would equal a loss of $2.5 million for Delta Greely. The legislature has indicated possible cuts are more likely in the ten percent range and equate to just under $1 million for the district.

Jackson said the administration is looking at how the District can address a ten percent cut. Mauer said that a cut of 25 percent is beyond what the District can consider at this point and anything would just be conjecture and create uncertainly, emphasizing that contracts have been signed for next year with most staff.

The School Board approved contracts for tenured staff for next year last month, and the administration indicated that funds were available in the District’s reserves to cover any deficit caused by a reduction in funding. Personnel costs make up about 80 percent of the District’s expenses each year. 

There is also a predicted surplus from this year’s budget caused by the approval of funding for two intensive needs students that were not included in the revenue budget. Jackson said the surplus from this year should cover the proposed deficit for next year.

Part of the reduction in income in the preliminary budget is the reduction of funding for additional students that were included in the final student count, and was added during budget revisions, said Business Manager Kim Johnson. Johnson also said the count of students in the brick and mortar schools was down about 20 students, but there was a similar increase in students in the homeschool program.

Johnson also told the Board one unknown that will impact personnel costs are insurance rates, and she expects those to be available early next month.

The District is scheduled to negotiate salaries with the unions this year said

One issue that is being addressed by the District is the capacity of the elementary school. Currently there is not space available if enrollment continues to climb at the elementary school level. The District is investigating the use of a mobile classroom if it is needed. The two options being investigated is the moving of the modular building adjacent to the high school to the elementary school and converting it to one or two classrooms, and the second option is the purchase of a new mobile classroom. Assistant Superintendent Bill Burr said the preliminary cost estimate for a new mobile classroom is near $100,000. No estimate has been determined yet on the cost of using the existing modular building.

Jackson indicated the use of a modular classroom is preliminary.

She said, “I do not know if the population will go up, but if it does and we need to add a teacher, we do not have a space for them.”

Mauer raised the topic that the elementary school was designed so that two additional classrooms could be added. Board Member Eileen Williams said the facilities committee is reviewing that issue, but it is a question of timing and would not work if needed this fall.

In addition to expansion of the elementary school, Williams said the committee is looking at the capital improvement projects list and revising the needs of the district. She said some of the other items being researched are a new junior/senior high school building, roofing issues at the elementary school, weatherization of the vocational ag building and district office, repaving of the bus loop, and demolition of the Fort Greely School.

The Board’s upcoming meetings include a work session on April 4, and a business meeting on April 18.

 

Michael Paschall is the editor and publisher of Delta Wind and can be reached at editor@deltawindonline.com.