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School board adopts new salary schedule; Increases apply to teachers and ancillary staff

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Interim Superintendent Susan Sanchez, along with school board President Mona Kirk and Secretary Alan Gedde, listens to Ruben Sanchez, the school board’s vice president, as he shares his gratitude for Susan Sanchez’s 17-month tenure during the meeting Tuesday evening. (Alison Penn Photo)

The Roswell Independent School District school board voted to approve a new salary schedule for teachers and ancillary staff for the upcoming school year.

When the discussion came to a close, Ruben Sanchez, school board vice president, made the motion and Alan Gedde, school board secretary, seconded. The measure carried unanimously at Tuesday night’s meeting.

Explaining that $1,800,000 has gone into the salary schedule, Chad Cole, assistant superintendent for finance and operations, said the district is fortunate to have revenues in place to adopt the salary schedule with step increases and he hopes the state can maintain the revenues. Referencing the oil and gas industry, Cole said the area’s new role as producer and exporter in the global oil market bodes well for the future. The 2018-19 salary schedules can be viewed in the Board Book under the agenda tab for the school board page on the RISD website.

Cole clarified that the salary schedules were for the Roswell Education Association and Communications Workers of America collective bargaining groups.

Sanchez said he was “excited and ecstatic” and thanked the staff for helping the school district to pay their teachers well. Sanchez said this topic is under discussion to implement incremental pay for teachers based on years of service.

In response to Sanchez’s comment, Cole agreed that he and the district were ecstatic after working together to create the salary schedule.

“When I saw this, it brought a tear to my eye — it really did,” Sanchez said and added this will increase morale and show the district they are appreciated. “It’s such a good thing. I can’t tell you how excited I am about this and how good it makes me feel to be a part of this deal.”

Cole said the district is fortunate to have revenues in place to adopt the salary schedule and he hopes the state can maintain the revenues.

Saying the district has a solid fund balance and is fiscally sound, Cole said the district has been working since 2005 — when the balance was at its lowest — to build it up. Cole said the salary schedule was “well overdue” and that it could retain teachers, in addition to attracting more skilled potential staff and other licensed professionals to the district.

Going off Cole’s point of attracting people to the district, Ruben Sanchez held up a list of the vacancies and said that once more people are aware of the salary schedule with step increases that the number of vacancies will “drop dramatically.” He encouraged everyone present to share this news.

In recruiting new staff, Sanchez asked if the step increase would apply to out-of-district teachers if hired. Brian Byrd, assistant superintendent for human resources, said there is a procedure that allows potential hires to bring 18 years of experience along with verifying their work experience. Byrd said they will be put to the appropriate step after the verification.

According to the agenda, a personnel report had seven non-personnel resignations, one retirement and three new hires at the beginning of June. Twenty-one teachers’ resignations were effective at the end of May with seven new hires and 12 transfers to begin in August.

Byrd also shared in his reports that the district will have 11 additional Pre-K teaching positions. He said five teachers will be going to Parkview Elementary School, two to Missouri Avenue Elementary School and one teacher for each school at Sunset, Valley View and Washington Avenue elementary schools and University High School. A full list of the open positions can be viewed at the website (risd.k12.nm.us) under the staff tab and employment opportunities.

Board President Mona Kirk said she was enthusiastic for the teachers and that the ancillary staff will be getting increases as well.

“I’m thrilled that we looked at all salary schedules,” Kirk said after calling the salary schedule phenomenal. “I think we need to take this a step further. Having been a principal and working at the principal’s salary schedule — there really isn’t one and I am hoping that in the future when we have another fund increase balance, or when we have a balance that makes us secure, that we can look at that because that’s near your timeline, too.”

“I’m glad to hear that because our administrators also need to get rewarded,” Dr. Kathleen Pittman, school board member, said about the administrative and food service salaries. “We’ve lost far too many.”

Cole also clarified that no administrative and food services positions were included on the salary schedule and hopes to work with Dr. Ann McIlroy, the new superintendent hired in April, to create a vision for those salaries, which may appear on at July’s meeting.

City/RISD reporter Alison Penn can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or at reporter04@rdrnews.com.