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La Veta School Board starts work on budget

by Bill Knowles
LA VETA- La Veta school board members voted to adopt wage and salary schedules for certified and classified workers during a regular meeting, Monday, April 11. By doing so, the board hopes to correct variances in the salaries and allow for a more equitable and manageable fund in the budget. Salaries and benefits comprise 80 percent of La Veta School’s spending.
Two different certified wage schedules have been used over the past several years and the school board voted 5-0 to adopt a single schedule for the policy manual. Previously one schedule had been included in the policy manual and a separate one was posted on the superintendent’s computer.
The schedule in the policy manual shows a base of $26,000 while the one in the superintendent’s computer presents a base of $28,500. After the vote, the schedule adopted was the one in the superintendent’s computer.
A two percent increase to the base salary was also included in the motion. The two percent raise along with benefits will increase expenditures on salaries for the 2011-2012 school year by $25,000 above what is already being spent.
Another addition to the salary schedule indicates how the school board will work with teachers who have experience as well as graduate level credit hours on their resumes. Ten years outside experience in other districts will be allowed for all incoming new teachers. If the prospective teacher has more then ten years of experience, the superintendent may grant that time with the approval of the board.
And in order for a teacher to be eligible for recognition of the graduate hours portion of the basic salary schedule, all credits must be in a planned graduate program. Credit hours outside of a planned graduate program must have received prior administrative approval in order to be counted for a salary increase. As an example, a teacher starting out with no experience receives starting pay at $28,500. A teacher with ten years experience and with a BA plus 20 graduate credit hours will earn $35,000.
On a 5-0 vote the school board decided to donate $1 per student, or $230, to help with legal expenses being accumulated in the course of a lawsuit that has the potential to change the way schools are funded by the state.
Lobato versus the State of Colorado, is currently in the discovery phase of the litigation. After winding its way through the courts starting in 2005, the State Supreme Court, on a 4-3 decision in 2009, decided to send the case back to District Court for trial. A decision on the case is still a few years away, but it will decide if the system provides the funds needed to meet the requirements of the state’s education reform statutes and the Consolidated State Plan. The litigation is supported by the Colorado Association of School Boards (CASB) and the Colorado Association of School Executive (CASE).
The board also accepted the resignations of Language Arts Teacher Valerie Jackson and elementary aide Fred Ferrari. Jackson has been working in both the junior and senior high school language arts program.
On a vote of 5-0, the board approved the expenditure of $450 for an overnight trip for the high school Knowledge Bowl team. The team will be competing at the State Knowledge Bowl in Colorado Springs on Thursday, April 21 and Friday, April 22.
The State Knowledge Bowl Team is comprised of Elliott Blessman, Cara Campbell, Casey Campbell, Clint Smith, Jon Brunelli and Matt Hammernik. The state championship will be staged at Colorado College in the Armstrong Theater.

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