School board meeting is all about staff

Posted 5/17/22

The Park County School District 1 board focused on positively impacting the lives of employees at its school board meeting on May 10.

The board unanimously approved a $1.5 million increase in base …

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School board meeting is all about staff

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The Park County School District 1 board focused on positively impacting the lives of employees at its school board meeting on May 10.

The board unanimously approved a $1.5 million increase in base salaries, along with hourly pay. The board also approved changes to steps and lanes. All  Park County School District 1 board members were present, except trustee Don Hansen, who was absent. 

This is the first increase in base salaries since 2017. Currently the base salary is $48,350. Salary increases had been avoided in the past due to rumored budget cuts at the state level that never came. 

“We don’t need to pay the top in the state because quite frankly, we can’t,” Superintendent Jay Curtis said. “We never will, Jackson will always have that crown. But to the extent possible, and to the extent that is a responsible use of our funds, we want to recruit and retain the very best employees.”

The agenda had nine items oriented toward improving employee pay. Six of the items were considerations to approve salary schedules for certified and non-teaching staff; speech, occupational and physical therapy staff; psychology staff, building-level administrators and district-level coordinators.

The remaining three items dealt with finalizing Curtis’ contract amount, which was approved for renewal in January, a one-time stabilization payment for employees and a consideration to approve steps and lanes for all qualified employees. 

All nine agenda items were approved unanimously. Board Chairman Kim Dillivan and Vice-Chairman Trace Paul, who have spouses in the school district, abstained from voting on items that would increase their spouses’ salaries, thereby creating a potential conflict of interest.

The meeting also served as a send-off for four long-term employees: Mary Abarca, Jo Mitchell, Nan O’Neill and Jacque Hunter.

Each of the four retirees received send-offs from their principal. They also received gifts and congratulations from the school board.

“These special individuals have a total of 90 years [expeience] if I did my math correctly and they are certainly going to be missed,” Dillivan said.

Abarca served as an associate custodian at Southside Elementary for 18 years. Mitchell served as a music teacher at Westside Elementary for 24 years. O’Neill taught English and French at Powell High School for 29 years. Hunter served as a special education teacher at Powell High School for 19 years.

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