Budget boosts salaries

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Adams 12 Five Star School District Board of Education adopted the 2013-2014 budget, giving teachers and staff a boost in compensation during the June 19 meeting.

Not only was the budget approved, but the district also reached a tentative contract agreement with the District Twelve Educators’ Association, which is set to be ratified before Sept. 4.

“Reaching a tentative agreement with DTEA is a very huge step forward in terms of getting the district in the position to get a good start for next year,” said superintendent Chris Gdowski.

Gdowski said the adopted budget is allocating around $2 million for the purpose of employees compensation increases that the original budget, presented to the board in April, did not include. Effective March 1, 2014 eligible certified staff, support staff, and administrators will receive a step increase to reward them for additional years of service.

“The district and the DTEA tentatively agreed on a mid-year step increase because it saves the district some money from what the district would have to pay for a full step increase effective Sept. 1,” Gdowski said. “The increase also helps support people to get to a higher income level mid-year and then moving forward will take salaries to a competitive place.”

Gdowski said the main reason the district was able to provide step increases was due to an increase state funding in special education. Because of the additional state funding, the district was able to take the $503,000 originally meant for special education for the district and use those dollars for employee compensation increases. The district also used $409,000 that was originally meant for boiler replacements in two schools, to be used for employee compensations.

“The schools will still be getting the boilers replaced, but the money will be coming out of the district’s capital reserve fund,” Gdowski said. “The board felt like investing in our staff and rewarding them after a number of really tough financial times was the better priority to honor in this process.”

Gdowski said a third aspect that helped fund the step increase was additional specific ownership tax revenues from people in the community buying more new and used vehicles.

“We feel the tentative agreement is a win-win solution. We had frozen steps this last year and reduces salaries for teachers,” he said. “But with the step increase it’s a great way to recognize the employees who have worked extremely hard. We want to publicly acknowledge their hard work and they should receive compensation increases to what the district can afford.”

For next year’s bargaining process, the district and the DTEA are changing things up. Both sides will be practicing interested-based bargaining, rather than traditional bargaining. Gdowski said by using interest-based bargaining, both sides will focus on particular issue and problems and work together to find a solution.

To view the entire 2013-2014 budget, visit www.adams12.org.