School board hires two new teachers, approves other contracts
The Petersburg School Board approved the employment of two new teachers within the district.
Eliza Warmack will join staff as a 5th grade teacher beginning in the 2016-17 school year and Rowan Beraza will be a secondary language arts and Spanish teacher beginning the same time.
The School Board also approved the principal contracts for another year. Middle and high school principal Rick Dormer will receive a salary of $97,116 and elementary principal Teri Toland will receive a salary of $88,773. They also approved exempt contracts for finance director Karen Quitslund, maintenance director Daniel Tate, food service director Carlee Johnson and superintendent and board administrative assistant Irene Littleton.
Finance Director Karen Quitslund said the district has a bare bones budget but are awaiting two pending senate bills in the Alaska legislature. Two bills, SB 209 and SB 207, would increase the local contribution to public employee (PERS) and teacher retirement systems (TRS).
“I just wanted to give the board and public an idea of what those dollar amounts look like,” Quitslund said. “For those proposed increases the PERS is $28,527. That would be the increase the district would have to realize if this bill was to pass. That’s not the total cost of the PERS amount it’s just the increase that we would see if those rates go up. The TRS, for the proposed increase, would be $207,675.”
School board members also encouraged the public to pay attention to the current legislative session and the various bills affecting education at different levels of the legislature.
School board member Megan Litster said paying attention, tracking and commenting on the bills, even those not affecting finances, can be overwhelming but is very important.
“I’ve emailed my opinion and some of the responses that I’ve had and I’ve seen in other places is please tell everybody you know, especially school based people to let us know what you think about these,” Litster said. “These (bills) are moving forwards without really a lot of input from the general public. This is legislators saying what they think they want to see and it’s not necessarily for us.”
The school board also approved Dormer’s request for a group of high school students to travel to Washington D.C. for the CloseUp program designed to teach students about governmental processes as they use the nation’s capital as a “living classroom.”
The school takes students to Washington D.C. every other year for the program and around 20 students usually attend.