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Carbon education board approves agreement with school employees

By Sun Advocate

The Carbon School District Board of Education, using some of the money they received from a voted leeway increase in February, approved an agreement with teachers and extended the benefits of that agreement to all full time employees last Tuesday night.
Probably the most notable feature of the agreement was a 5 percent raise given to all employees for the next fiscal year.
“We are one of only two school districts in the state that were able to give any kind of raise this year,” stated Superintendent David Armstrong. “And it was due to the money we received from the voters decision.”
The money will also be used to fund increases in insurance rates for employees, to continue to implements the increment and lane changes school employees are due and to put an additonal $25,000 on the extra-curricular pay scale indicated the school board.
Within the negotiations with the teachers representatives, a number of changes were also made to the negotiated agreement as it pertains to various policies and processes.
Two of the most important were changes that placed the responsibility for notification about insurance coverage changes that could lead to decreased premiums for the district on the employees and establishing that the annual sick leave for educators is 10 days.
In other business the board performed the following.
• The parent-teacher organization president from Helper Junior High, Bryan Boucher, addressed the board of education about a letter he had sent to the members recently. Boucher spoke about concerns parents had about the fact that the school had lost a couple of teaching positions in the last year and that some felt Mont Harmon Junior High has been receiving a “disproportionate” amount of resources to operate their school.
“This is a problem I faced for a number of years when I was superintendent,” stated board member Boyd Bell. “We have to be careful when we use that word disproportionate. Mont Harmon has many more students so it gets more resources. But I don’t think the funding is disproportionate.”
Business administrator for the district Bill Jewkes pointed out that the class sizes at Helper Junior High are much smaller than those at Mont Harmon. And because of larger classroom sizes, operating the school in Helper is much more expensive.
Boucher also brought up a problem that has perennially plagued families with school children in Spring Glen, Kenilworth and Carbonville. That is bus schedules.
“Kids from those three communities get to school almost an hour before classes start and have to hang around the building for almost an hour after school to wait for the bus home,” he explained to the board. “This has been going on for a long time. In the morning Mr. Montoya (the principal) is the only one in the building for a long time before teachers get there and he has to play policeman for almost 100 kids.”
Boucher went on to say that he had however, already talked with the superintendent about the situation and Armstrong had promised to solve it before next school year.
“I would have fixed it last fall if I had known about the situation,” the superintendent told the board.
•The school board approved the annual request for capital improvements for the district at the meeting as well.
Total projected costs approved was $3 million. This amount included $850,000 for textbooks and supplies, $236,000 for three new buses, $576,000 for the replacement of the roof on Sally Mauro Elementary, and $225,000 for technology purchases.
Other expenses built into the capital allowance was $40,000 for the demolition of the old board office, $81,000 for parking lot work at Carbon High and Mont Harmon Junior High, $75,000 for worn out carpet throughout the district, $79,000 for tile removal at Peterson Elementary and Mont Harmon and $20,000 for the construction of a bus drop off and pick up at Mont Harmon.

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