Committee Says Teacher Raises Should Stay Same

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When members of the Payson Unified School District Board meet Monday, they'll have money on their minds.


The board will be asked to approve a salary schedule that is nearly the same as last year's.

The Superintendent's Advisory Committee recommended that the board maintain the current salary schedule, PUSD Superintendent Herb Weissenfels said.


"The SAC, working in conjunction with administrators, will recommend (we) leave the schedule as it is this year," he said. "They'll get step moves and education credits that will average out overall 2.85 percent for teachers, 2 percent for classified workers and 1 percent for administration."


The board also will consider a recommendation to add two full-time math teachers to the district -- one to Payson Center for Success and one to Payson High School.


Preparing for the state-mandated AIMS test, which is currently math intensive, will cost the district an estimated $62,000 in additional teachers, added work hours and materials, Weissenfels said.


Staff cuts will be recommended for other programs, however.


Weissenfels said he will recommend that the board reduce one full-time Julia Randall Elementary School preschool teacher position to half-time and eliminate two JRE preschool teachers' aides.


"The cuts are because of the number of students in the program," he said. "The number no longer merits the number of adults we have there. We're cutting the preschool program to three sessions instead of four."


The proposal would bring the ratio of adults to students in the preschool program to one-to-four, a ratio that Weissenfels said is sound.


He said he doesn't anticipate any cuts in the district's orchestra and string programs next year, and he plans to ask the board to fund them at their current rates to provide for a 20-hour-a-week teaching position.


Weissenfels said the district is waiting on a report from the state school facilities board, which was created by the state's Students First school-funding legislation, to create a list of capital projects for the coming year.


"We submitted recommendations, everything from covering walks around the high school to prevent freezing, to extending the entrance at the auditorium for the same reason."


Weissenfels said he asked for repairs for the special education building, but Phil Geiger, head of the state facilities board, said permanent classrooms should be built.


"We wanted to fix it up," Weissenfels said. "He just said to build a new building. If they pay for that, we'll take it."


Weissenfels said he expects to receive recommendations from the state facilities board in June.


The Payson School Board will meet at 5 p.m. Monday in the district office at 514 W. Wade Lane. The board's meetings are open to the public.

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