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School board approves 1 percent salary increase for teachers, discusses budgets

Superintendent Kludt-Painter getting a one year, $120,000 contract

 


Contracts and budgets were a big part of discussion during Tuesday evening’s school board meeting.

The school board reached an agreement with the Associated Teachers of Petersburg, approving a 1 percent salary increase for teachers in 2015-16. Negotiations for years two and three will continue.

Board members also touched on Superintendent Erica Kludt-Painter’s contract for 2015-16.

It will be a 260-day contract for $120,000. The board approved it after coming out of executive session during a special meeting on Feb. 19.

Former Superintendent Lisa Stroh handed in her resignation in December. Kludt-Painter had been filling in for her since Stroh had left on administrative leave earlier that month.

With kids of her own, Kludt-Painter’s not sure if she wants to stay in the position permanently, “but I’m very invested in the community, in the schools,” she said.

As the 2015-16 school year progresses, she said a decision will be made regarding the search for a permanent superintendent. Kludt-Painter added that she may get her superintendent certification and go for it herself.

In the meantime, she believes stepping into the role will relieve some of the stress of having to find someone to come in quickly.

“The good thing is I do know the district,” she said. “I know the kids and I know the families.”

She was the elementary principal for 14 years. Second grade teacher Teri Toland will remain as the elementary principal throughout 2015-16, and a temporary teacher will be sought to fill her shoes.

During the meeting, Kludt-Painter also provided a brief update on the funding challenges Petersburg schools are facing with this year’s legislative session. She attended the Alaska Association of School Administrators Legislative Fly-In last week.

“We are going to deal with this deficit. It’s frustrating because the cuts, and they are just slashing kind of cuts, seem really over the top going from one year to the next year and would just be so, so extreme,” she said.

For example, district staff worked together to write the Healthy Living Grant two years ago and are looking at potentially losing that funding.

“We are, as we’ve said many times, sitting in a much better position than most everyone I sat with last weekend,” Kludt-Painter added.

She said others are letting about 10 teachers go, slashing activities, eliminating programs and making cuts to early education programs.

“We continue to be responsible … we’re not in crisis,” she noted.

Still, it was “not a very fun weekend.”

A big issue, Kludt-Painter added, was a potential five year moratorium on capital projects that could really leave “a mess” for some.

“We’ve been working very hard at our admin team meetings discussing areas that we can reduce spending with the least impact on education,” Director of Finance Karen Quitslund said.

They’re looking at personnel, reducing professional development, activities and travel.

She added that the district is about 70 percent done with the budgeting process and will meet again after Spring Break.

“Once all the pieces of the puzzle are put together, we’ll have a more complete picture,” she said.

In other school board news:

The board voted 5-0 to move meetings to the second Tuesday of each month. No public testimony was given.

A bid for elementary fencing, not to exceed $27,800, was approved. Another bid to replace concrete in front of the middle school, not to exceed $44,315, was also approved. Both will come from the maintenance fund.

The board also approved changes to the student nutrition and physical activity policy at first reading. The district’s lawyer will be reviewing the changes before a second

reading.

 

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