The Slater School Board took a "conservative" approach for the 2009-10 year and approved a one percent raise for the teacher's base salary during a special meeting held on Monday, April 16.
"This year it's better to stay conservative with the economy the way it is," Slater superintendent John McEachern told the board members. "If we wind up where we can give a four or five percent raise next year (2010-11), by all means we will."
The raise means the base pay of a teacher will be $28,088, which is up from last year's $27,810. The pay for a beginning teacher with a master's degree for next year will be $29,888 and increases for each year of experience.
McEachern estimated the base raise will cost the district approximately $30,000, which he said was saved last year after changing insurance companies.
"Last year when we were going through the health insurance - because we were so late getting the bid back - we figured $429 per employee, per month on the health insurance. The board voted and agreed to accept that," he explained. However when they changed insurance companies, they had a substantial savings per employee, per month.
"With that I told the teachers we would figure that in for next year as the minimum raise."
Using a graphic, McEachern also recommended the board approve adding a $400 step up in pay between teachers who have a bachelor's degree, plus 32 hours additional college credit and teacher's who have a master's degree. For all other "steps" the teachers get $350. However, a new state law requires that in the year 2009-2010 all teachers with 10 years experience and a masters degree get paid a minimum of $33,000, McEachern told the board.
"Without raising the base, we would not have been in compliance with the law," he said, adding they also had to add the $400 step to reach compliance.
The step will cost a "little less than $8,000" to the district, and will insure that a Slater teacher with 10 years experience and a master's degree will have a $33,038 salary for 2009-2010. McEachern told the board the new step would also fix a discrepancy between teachers with a bachelor's degree and large number of hours and those that had received their master's degree.
"We want all our teachers to get their master's, if at all possible," he said, adding that "a master's degree shows more dedication."
After discussion, the board approved the proposal, with an estimated $38,000 total cost, unanimously.
Although they conducted some regular business, the special meeting was scheduled to certify the election results and reorganize the board after the April 7 election. It was first scheduled for April 8, but was postponed in order for the Saline County Election Board to meet and finalize vote tallies.
Rick Hays won back his seat on the board receiving 111 votes. Steve Taylor was newly elected to the board with 98 votes. After they voted to accept the results, board secretary Jodi Fuemmeler presented the oath of office to Hays and Taylor.
The board then voted to re-elect Hays as president of the board, Mike Venable as vice-president and Fuemmeler as secretary.
After discussion, the board voted to have former board member and past treasurer Becky Uhlich continue in that role. Uhlich was not re-elected to the board after finishing third in the April 7 ballot, which had six people running for the two open seats.
McEachern explained that the secretary and treasurer do not have to be board members. Uhlich had been serving in the position for approximately a year after taking over for longtime treasurer Valda Kilgore.
In other business the board voted to accept a gift of five 37-inch flat screen televisions, along with DVD players and stands from SHAPES (Slater High Alumni Providing Education Settings).
"Each year they try to make a donation that is relevant and will be utilized," said McEachern. The total cost of the gift was estimated at approximately $5,500.
The board also voted to approve two facility requests; one from the 8th grade graduation committee for meetings and party and one from the Slater Optimist Club to use the facility for the summer baseball coaches draft on April 17.
In executive session, the board discussed applicants for the elementary principal job and will be interviewing two applicants on Thursday, April 16 after the regularly scheduled meeting. Jean Dowell, who has served the district in that capacity for 16 years, announced last month that she would retire at the end of this school year. She has been in education for 31 years. Also in executive session, the board accepted the resignation of Jillian Pointer, the retirement of Sharon Horgan. They also voted to hire Frank Guthrie, ISS instructor and Christina Bartholomew, 6th --8th grade Communication Arts. They also voted to employ Jim Mize as high school science teacher and junior and high school band teacher. That offer, however, is pending, until the current band instructor resigns. He currently is awaiting final approval of a new job offer in another district, explained McEachern.
All board members were present at the meeting.