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RE-2 salaries well below state average

by Shane Clouse
LA VETA — At the September 10, RE-2 Board of Education meeting, the district was presented with the Colorado School Finance Project’s Profile Data. The data included enrollment, per student expenditures and revenues, and teacher’s salaries.
At their current level, RE-2 salaries are at 72% of the state average. Over the past five years, RE-2 has raised salaries just 4.7% compared to a state average of 10.7%. This data suggests that average salaries in the district are approximately $13,700 per year below other districts.
With that being said, the district feels that with a higher student count this year, they will be in a better financial position. Prior to the October count, the school had 237 students with 32 of them having Individual Education Plans.
The La Veta Board of Education voted to raise meal prices by 25 cents for lunches and breakfasts. There has not been an increase to the meal prices in ten years. The district qualifies as a “severe needs” district and receives $2.88 per lunch and $1.85 per breakfast. It is estimated that the average cost per meal is $6.94.
The new prices are $1.50 for elementary students and $1.75 for junior/senior high school students for lunch. Breakfast will cost $1.00 for elementary and $1.25 for junior/senior high school students. With the price increase, the district still runs on a deficit averaging $2.31 per plate.
In other news, the La Veta Board of Education was very pleased to commend the hard work of Facilities Manager Gaye Davis, custodians Eric Griego and Russ Semple, and seasonal assistants Steven Blessman and Brandon Laird. Concerning all of the improvements that have happened over the summer, it was reported that the elementary school looks like it is brand new and the results stand for themselves.
The board of education also approved reimbursing Superintendant Bree Lessar $2,316.80 for a laptop computer and docking station. In the past Lessar had provided her own computer, but it was stolen while she was in Pueblo.
Also approved was an overnight field trip for the National FFA Convention in Indianapolis this October. The substitute teacher list and volunteer list passed the vote with the comment that volunteers are welcome in all classes with the exception that parent volunteers should spend only four hours per week in their own children’s classes to encourage that child’s independence.
The district will move forward and submit an application for a USDA Rural Development Community Facility Program Grant to help acquire new technological equipment. This funding will be available next spring.
At the September 24 meeting, the board will discuss superintendant/board goals. The policy overhaul topics will be discussed at the October 15 and 29 meetings.