East Grand board considers building new school
School would put bond issue on 2020 ballot
It was a busy night for the East Grand School District’s Board of Education on Tuesday as the board reviewed the district’s master plan, considered the development of a new elementary school and a related bond question, and approved a series of items from salary increases for district staff to increased lunch fees.
Tuesday night East Grand’s Board of Education dug into a series of topics that will significantly impact the district’s trajectory over the next few years. Most notably the board reviewed the district’s master plan and discussed recommendations to construct a new elementary school in Granby. The Denver based architectural firm Hord Coplan Macht developed the master plan. Tuesday night Lyn Eller, with Hord Coplan Macht, presented the master plan to the board.
Work on the mater plan kicked off last fall. The document is primarily focused on the district’s facilities and seeks to identify the needs of those facilities while offering potential solutions to address those needs. One of the primary needs identified in the master plan was overcrowding at Granby Elementary School.
“Our most immediate problem is an elementary school that is overcrowded,” Frank Reeves, East Grand superintendent, said. “We have other needs in other buildings, but that is our current number one problem.”
Eller’s presentation noted that a steering committee provided feedback to his firm when developing the master plan that recommended the construction of a new elementary school to replace Granby Elementary. No final decision has yet been made about whether or not to build a new elementary school. District officials noted they plan to begin a public awareness and engagement campaign next school year to determine the priorities of the district’s families and taxpayers.
“This is a guidepost, a start,” Reeves said of the master plan and its recommendations for a new elementary school. “This is a great way to say ‘here is where we are’ and then get their (taxpayers) feedback. We need to know what our community will support in terms of needs and a dollar value.”
Reeves said the district definitely feels there is a need to be addressed at Granby Elementary and hopes to do something but said the final actions taken by the district regarding those needs would be based upon the response from the public.
“It will really kick off in earnest next fall,” he said of the public awareness and dialog process. “We will try to get in front of as many groups and people as we can. What are the voters willing to support? There is no sense in asking for an amount of money that the voters won’t support.”
If the voters of Grand County do support some sort of project to address needs at Granby Elementary, be it a new school or remodeling and refurbishing the existing building, the related project will inherently require the issuance of a bond. Reeves said the district is anticipating putting a bond question on the November 2020 ballot, if the project receives supportive feedback over the next school year.
The board also approved a series of salary schedule increases Tuesday night. All employees of East Grand School District fall into one of five different salary schedule categories: teachers, administrators, district staff, classified staff, and coaches/sponsors. Each category includes numerous “steps” or levels of compensation that vary based upon tenure within the district and individual education level.
Each year typically the board of education will approve step increases for district employees, allowing each employee to move onto the next “step” of compensation and therefore receive a higher salary. Step increases are tied to longevity with each step increase typically corresponding to one year of tenure within the district.
The board of education is not required to approve step increases and step increases do not occur unless approved by the board. The board has approved step increases consistently in recent years however various salary categories did not see step increases several times between 2010 and 2013.
In addition to step increases the board of education can also approve salary increases for the various steps, making the total compensation received for a specific salary step higher than it was the previous year. All five of the salary schedules were approved for additional compensation next school year though the amount varies between categories.
The board approved a six percent raise to the base pay of the district’s classified employees for the coming year and also approved a step increase for all classified employees. The district’s classified staff includes position such as bus drivers, paraprofessionals and custodians.
The District staff, which includes most of the individuals who work within the East Grand School District’s main office, likewise received a six percent increase to base pay and a one step increase. The district’s Administrators will receive a four-and-a-half percent increase to base pay next year and a one step increase.
Teachers in East Grand will not receive an increase to their base pay next year but the board did approve a three step increase for all teachers. As such all teachers within the district will move ahead three-steps in the salary schedule and receive additional compensation, though the pay rate for each step did not increase from the pay rate for the current school year.
Likewise the board approved a three step increase for those compensated under the coaches/sponsors salary schedule but did not increase the base pay rate for each step within that schedule.
LUNCH FEE INCREASES
The board also approved an increase in some food service fees for the district. Starting next school year student lunches will be going up by 25 cents in East Grand. Elementary student lunches will climb from $2.75 to $3 while middle school and high school student lunches will climb from $3 to $3.25. The cost of milk will also be going up from 60 cents to 75 cents. There will be no increase to breakfast costs next school year.
District staff noted that the 2014-2015 school year was the last time East Grand increased its food service prices. Since the 2015-2016 school year East Grand’s food service program has seen a 120 percent increase in the number of meals served.
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