Teacher raises likely to receive approval
By Robin Scott
The Dalhart Independent School Board held a regular meeting on Tuesday, July 21st. Many items were on the meeting’s agenda. Of particular interest was the discussion regarding teacher raises for the upcoming school year.
Board President Jeff Lloyd called the meeting to order. Board Trustees present included Russell Routon, Doug Claborn, Rick Dunham, Randy Sherril, Misty Mellema and Gary Schniederjan. Also present were DISD Superintendent David Foote and Business Manager Delbert Dodds. School principals present were DHS Principal David Steele and DES Principal Karen Taft.
Issues discussed at the meeting included AP courses at the high school, continuation of the Community Connect community education program, DISD employees’ children’s transportation and pay raises for the upcoming school year. A closed session of the meeting was conducted to speak with the district’s attorney regarding modifying district policy to allow the Superintendent to hire contract employees.
Foote mentioned previously and after the special session last month that First State Bank had the lowest bid for the district’s $750,000 loan. The bank was able to offer the best terms and lowest interest rate and the board unanimously approved accepting the terms of the loan with First State Bank.
The board also discussed teacher and staff raises for the 2009/10 school year. The board has approved a new salary schedule that is contingent on the Commissioner getting approval from the Federal Government as the funding for the raises will come from the Economic Stimulus. A requirement for using the stimulus money is that each teacher, librarian, nurse, counselor and special educator must receive an $800 annual raise, or $60 multiplied by the weighted average daily attendance. Foote stated, “Dalhart teachers are actually scheduled to receive more than the Federal requirement. They will receive an $840 raise in pay using the Federal formula.” Foote believes that the district will receive word soon, and he anticipates an approval of the salary schedule.
Approximately 150 DISD employees are affected by the salary schedule. If not approved, the stimulus money will still flow to the district, but would not be available for the raises; however, the district does not foresee any problems and the raises should go forward. The district’s 2009/10 budget requires approval before September 1st, and one thing that the district is waiting on is the amount of funding that will come from the Appraisal District. Foote noted that 84 percent of the DISD budget goes to pay salaries. That means that when cuts are discussed, it comes from only 16 percent of the budget; not an easy task, according to Foote.
The board continued the discussion on whether or not to provide transportation for the children of DISD employees from one school to another. Foote stated, “I haven’t come up with a solution, but I still believe that whatever we do has to be offered to all students. We are not in a financial position to offer citywide transportation.” Several ideas have been discussed, but so far no resolution has been determined. DES Principal addressed the board and stated that the district would have to consider all of the school children, and not just a select few. She stated that DES already holds up older siblings, so that children from the same family leave the school together. She noted that her personnel must get clocked out at 4:00 p.m. or there is an overtime issue and that affects the district’s budget.
Foote stated that he believes that all of the school principals will work with their staff on the issue of getting out to pick up kids, and sharing the responsibility with other teacher parents.