Mar 302016

By Naomi Hatch
The Snowflake Unified School District Governing Board approved an increase in salary for district employees in a special work session held March 24.
Superintendent Hollis Merrell and Business Manager Mark Ollerton presented three proposals to the board. The amount of increase is dependent on passage of Proposition 123 in the May 17 election.
Prop. 123 would allocate $3.5 billion for education funding, with approximately $1.4 billion coming from the general fund and $2 billion from increasing annual distributions of the state trust land permanent funds to education, raising distributions from 2.5 percent of the average value of the funds to 6.9 percent for the next 10 fiscal years. This money would settle a five-year lawsuit over school funding, which alleged that during the recession in 2007, the state did not give K-12 schools money from Proposition 301, which had been approved by voters and required an automatic inflation adjustment. Schools allege that they were shorted necessary funding required under the proposition.
The board unanimously voted to approve Option B contingent on the passage of Prop. 123. This would give salary increases to teachers.
Merrell explained that if Prop. 123 does not pass, they will have to reconvene to look at other options.
“If Proposition 123 passed, we could adjust the classified salary schedule so we have competitive salaries,” said Merrell.
He added that there will be an increase in insurance premiums next fiscal year.