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Poth ISD welcomes new trustees, OKs pay raises
POTH -- During the May 14 regular meeting of the Poth Independent School District board, three trustees took their seats after being unopposed May 12 in their bids for places on the board. Anthony Cantu, Michael Luna, and Wade Harris replaced Sarah Dallmeyer, Carol Dziuk, and Gary Felux.
Dallmeyer and Dziuk said their goodbyes and welcomed the three new trustees. The board then elected officers, with Wesley West again serving as president. Darren Wiatrek is the vice president, and Bob Kilgore is the board secretary. The board then addressed the evening’s agenda.
In order to provide space for the Life Skills class, empty classrooms in the old elementary school have been selected as the future location of the program. Utilizing the unused “L-Wing,” as Superintendent Andy Peters described it, the class will be contained in three rooms. According to Peters, only minor renovations will be needed to the existing classrooms, such as new walls and doors.
This location was viewed as a better option, projected to cost less than $50,000; renovations to the kindergarten building to accommodate the program could cost more than $200,000, and would displace a large number of students, trustees heard. According to Peters, work will begin once school is out.
Concluding a discussion that has spanned several meetings, the board has reached agreement regarding staff salaries. Given four options to modify the current pay scale to provide adequate salaries within the district’s budget, the trustees devised and passed a plan that will keep step raises in the form of a $500 yearly bonus for teachers.
Teachers who have taught for more than 20 years in Poth will receive an additional $500 annually. Administrative positions and those of support and trades will receive an increase of 5 percent of the midpoint of their salary range. Support and trades employees will receive 3 percent of their midpoint if they have already reached their maximum salary.
“... this was the most important thing the board has done since I have been here and they made a bold statement in these tough economic times to give a 5 percent raise and increase our teacher salaries,” Peters said after the meeting. “We are able to do this because of the increase in property values due to the Eagle Ford shale ...”
The debate over the place of employee benefits in the budget evolved into a discussion of health care. The trustees approved providing every employee with a $50 allotment to be used on any plan within the school program. In lieu of an overall increase in health benefits, employees will have the option and the funds to pay into one of a variety of plans in the district-sponsored program.
Trustees also approved the purchase of a new bus to assist with long-distance trips, total cost $89,910. This is the first air-conditioned bus to be purchased by Poth.
All members were present for the meeting and all approvals were passed unanimously.
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