District One board OKs teacher raises

Yuma Sun - - FRONT PAGE - BY AMY CRAWFORD SUN STAFF WRITER

Long­time teach­ers in the Yuma Ele­men­tary District One will see an 11 per­cent pay in­crease in the 2018-2019 school year.

District ad­min­is­tra­tors pre­sented the em­ployee com­pen­sa­tion plan at the gov­ern­ing board’s monthly busi­ness meet­ing Mon­day evening.

Teach­ers with 10 or more years of ex­pe­ri­ence will see an 11 per­cent in­crease in their base pay, said Hu­man Re­sources Di­rec­tor Lu­ciano Munoz, bring­ing the av­er­age teacher salary in the district to $40,604. The fig­ure does not in­clude Propo­si­tion 301 funds or clubs/ ac­tiv­i­ties/sports stipends. In­clud­ing those in­come sources would put the av­er­age teacher salary at $46,804, ac­cord­ing to fig­ures pro­vided by the district. Board Pres­i­dent Karen Grif­fin asked if that was what the district would be of­fer­ing as a start­ing salary to new teach­ers.

“No, this is the av­er­age teacher salary when you put all of our teach­ers to­gether,” Munoz said.

The rea­son the ad­min­is­tra­tion put an em­pha­sis on the av­er­age teacher salary is that new leg­is­la­tion re­quires it to be posted on districts’ web sites, said As­so­ciate Su­per­in­ten­dent Duane Shep­pard.

Munoz also noted that dur­ing the RedForEd move­ment an Ari­zona Repub­lic ar­ti­cle which was widely cir­cu­lated mis­stated the district’s av­er­age teacher salary.

“(Me­dia) used a dif­fer­ent num­ber that was not ac­cu­rate,” he said, not­ing that the cor­rect fig­ure is

about $2,000 higher than the $34,730 cited by the Repub­lic from the Au­di­tor Gen­eral’s An­nual Report.

Teach­ers with 1 to 3 years of ex­pe­ri­ence will get 10 per­cent, while those with 4 to 9 years will see a 10.5 per­cent in­crease. Those with 10 years or more would get 11 per­cent.

Cer­tifi­cated em­ploy­ees make up 61 per­cent of the 1,077 em­ploy­ees in the district, with sup­port staff mak­ing up 30 per­cent, and “others” com­pris­ing the re­main­ing 9 per­cent.

Cer­tifi­cated em­ploy­ees el­i­gi­ble for the 10 to 11 per­cent raise in­clude: Classroom teach­ers, in­ter­ven­tion­ists, mi­grant ad­vo­cates, coun­selors, instructional coaches and cer­ti­fied co­or­di­na­tors.

Clas­si­fied em­ploy­ees will re­ceive a flat $1 an hour raise, with the ex­cep­tion of those slated to get an ad­di­tional .50 cents on Jan. 1 due to the man­dated in­creases in the state min­i­mum wage.

The re­main­ing 9 per­cent of em­ploy­ees, which in­cludes phys­i­cal, oc­cu­pa­tional and speech ther­a­pists; psy­chol­o­gist; COTAs; ther­a­pist as­sis­tants; ad­min­is­tra­tors; su­per­vi­sors; and reg­is­tered nurses, would see grad­u­ated raises of 5 per­cent to 6 per­cent based on longevity.

The cost of the in­creases for all em­ploy­ees amounts to $3,207,840, ac­cord­ing to Chief Fi­nan­cial Of­fi­cer De­nis Pon­der.

He ex­plained that the district is slated to re­ceive $2,297,683 from the base level fund­ing (with a student count of 10,915.35); $720,413 in in­fla­tion funds; and $1,036,959 in district ad­di­tional as­sis­tance.

“That’s a nice chunk of money that’s go­ing to come in from those three dif­fer­ent ar­eas to kind of help cover the cost of the raises and then sup­ply some much­needed cap­i­tal fund­ing for us,” Pon­der said.

Raises for staff was one of the district’s pri­or­i­ties, Pon­der said, even in the face of an over­all bud­get that is in­creas­ing just about 8 per­cent.

“We made an ef­fort to spend, as much as we could, the raise and in­fla­tion money on raises for our staff,” he said.

Munoz said the district wanted to dif­fer­en­ti­ate be­tween its long­time em­ploy­ees and those just start­ing out.

“We really want to make sure that those em­ploy­ees who’ve been with us longer … that it shows in their com­pen­sa­tion… es­pe­cially when they’ve been work­ing with our district through the years that we’ve been frozen,” he said. “We really want to show that sep­a­ra­tion be­tween those long term em­ploy­ees and those just join­ing our district.”

The district will also ab­sorb a 7 per­cent in­crease in health pre­mi­ums for em­ploy­ees on the high de­ductible plan, Pon­der said dur­ing his pre­sen­ta­tion on the 18-19 bud­get.

Pon­der noted that the district does not an­tic­i­pate rais­ing prop­erty tax rates, but may as the bud­get gets a more in­tense look over the com­ing days. The bud­get pre­sented Mon­day night is a “work­ing doc­u­ment,” he said.

The district saw a large in­crease in school plant fund monies, mainly due to an auc­tion of sur­plus ma­te­ri­als, Pon­der said. Those funds could be used to pay down the district’s debt, or be given back to the tax­payer in the form or a lower rate, he said.

Grif­fin asked if the prop­erty tax rate would be a “one time break” or re­cur yearly. Pon­der noted that it would be a one-time re­duc­tion in the rate.

The bud­get had an in­crease in classroom site funds, a de­crease in In­dian gam­ing dol­lars and an­other $9 mil­lion slated for bond build­ing, as the district is set to be­gin work on the new Dorothy Hall Ele­men­tary School.

Board mem­bers also ap­proved two new em­ploy­ees: El­iz­a­beth Valen­zuela as the new chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer and for­mer board mem­ber Jamie Walden as the new di­rec­tor of bud­get and fi­nance.

The Prop 301 plan for 18-19 was also ap­proved by the board, with al­most 97 per­cent of re­spon­dents sup­port­ing the plan, Shep­pard said.

The board also ap­proved grant­ing per­for­mance pay to Su­per­in­ten­dent Jamie Shel­dahl who was ab­sent.

The board’s next meet­ing is at 8 a.m. June 28 in the district board room.

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