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RFSD board approves one-time staff bonuses

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At a Nov. 10 meeting, two outgoing Roaring Fork School District (RFSD) board members — Jennifer Rupert and Jennifer Scherer — were honored with resolutions recognizing their service. Rupert served for six years, including three as board president and Scherer served for four years. Board President Natalie Torres also read letters of appreciation.

The board adopted a resolution approving lease financing to install two scoreboards at the Basalt High School (BHS) football field. The scoreboards will be utilized for football, soccer and powderpuff football. One of the two will be a video scoreboard, allowing games to be live-streamed.

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Daktronics, a supplier of large screen video and graphics display scoreboards, will partner with BHS on the project.

The cost of the scoreboard is $256,000, with the district entering into a lease-purchase agreement with Huntington National Bank for a term of five years, at an interest rate of 3.79%. Payments will be funded through sponsorships with local businesses.

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Jason Santo, BHS athletic director, said they have already secured eight Roaring Fork Valley businesses as sponsors who will advertise on the scoreboard.

The video scoreboard could also be used for community events. One idea was to host community movie nights on the field,  “to enjoy a night under the stars while watching a movie,” Santo said.

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Uncertified election results show that Ballot Issue 5B, an RFSD mill levy override (MLO), passed by 69% on the Nov. 2 ballot.

Superintendent Rob Stein said, “We’re in this position to celebrate very strong support from our community and our voters. Now we have an opportunity to start determining how to use these funds for retention and recruitment efforts, largely through salaries.”

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Stein said he and administrative staff have begun meeting with groups of district staff to explain salary structures and the costs of employee benefits, including health insurance.

He shared, “What we want to do with each employee group is give them an update on the process. And also get their input, because we really want this to be collaborative and transparent. We want all of our staff and our community to know how we’re using these funds.”

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From now through the end of December, the district will conduct salary research and comparisons with surrounding school districts.

The district will not know the exact amount of MLO funds available until January 2022. After Jan. 1, property tax bills go out and the district begins receiving funds in March. Staff salary adjustments would be made on March or April 2022 paychecks.

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Because MLO funds will not be available for several months, a recommendation by administrative staff was made to the board that one-time bonuses be paid to teachers and staff to address “the need to provide immediate financial relief for our staff members and immediate actions to address our staffing shortage,” Stein explained.

Stein said the approved one-time bonuses will be paid in December.

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The board also heard a proposed update to the district’s current background check policy. Background checks are used for licensing and employment purposes. A new law requires policies in place that outline the methods used to collect, review, store and destroy fingerprint-based state and national criminal history record checks, used for licensing and employment purposes. In the first of three readings, the proposed policy has been reviewed by the district’s human resources team.

Other agenda items included RFSD Chief Financial Officer Nathan Markham presenting the quarterly financial report as of Sept. 30.

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RFSD staff bonus allocation information (from Nov. 10 Board of Education meeting information packet): 

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Full-time employees who started employment prior to Dec. 1, 2021, will be eligible for the full bonus of $1,000. 

Part-time employees who started prior to Dec. 1, 2021, will receive a prorated bonus based on full-time equivalent hours. 

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Employees beginning employment after Dec. 1, 2021, will receive a $500 bonus in their April paychecks.

Athletic coaches will receive a one-time $200 bonus if they are not eligible for the full or part-time employee bonus.

Guest teachers already receive up to $2,250 in bonuses for completing a set number of days of assignments, so they are not eligible for this additional bonus. 

All bonus recipients must be employed by the district at the time the bonus is paid (except for fall season athletic coaches who will receive the bonus for coaching in the fall).

Tags: #Basalt High School #Roaring Fork School District #Rob Stein
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