Public comments encouraged at special session board meetings

Thursday, June 12, 2008 | 3:08 p.m. CDT; updated 10:52 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

COLUMBIA — Five of the seven people who spoke to the Columbia School Board on Thursday about next year’s budget favored using more than $2 million for employee pay — also known as the salary schedule.

The meeting was the first of two Thursday at which the board is seeking public input. It drew about 20 people. At issue is what to do with the money the district didn’t expect to have next year.

One version of the budget for the 2008-09 school year puts the money toward employee salaries. Nick Kremer, a teacher at Oakland Junior High School, spoke to the board and wanted to clarify that operating the salary schedule wouldn’t raise teachers’ salaries but is paying them what they have been promised.

“It’s fulfilling contractual obligation given to teachers when they took the job,” Kremer said.

People who oppose funding the salary schedule expressed their concern that it would cost other employees their jobs.

The public is invited to comment at a second meeting at 6:30 p.m. in the district’s Administration Building, 1818 W. Worley St.

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