From the pages of
The Sublette County Journal
Volume 4, Number 42 - 6/15/00
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

District No. 1 School Board Raises Staff Salaries 9%
Board wants Pinedale teachers' salaries to be in top 5% of state
by Rob Shaul

Last Thursday, the Pinedale School Board approved an across the board 9% pay raise for school district employees. This was the third pay increase in three years. Since 1998, school district salaries have increased 18%.

According to comments made at the meeting, the district's goal is to raise the average salary for Pinedale teachers to the point where they're in the top 5% in the state. Further, the district wants its salaries for new teachers to be in the top 3-4%. After this year's increase, the average teacher salary will be $37,113, up $3,060 from last year.

During 1999-2000, Pinedale ranked 16th in the state in average teacher's salary.

According to the Wyoming Education Association, the average teacher's salary in the 48 school districts in the State of Wyoming for 1999-2000 was $32,819. Gillette had the highest average teacher salary - $39,795. Tensleep had lowest average teacher's salary at $26,562.

With this year's increase, Pinedale's teachers will see an average increase of $3,038 per year. Several of the most senior teachers in the district will see a pay hike of over $4,000.

Superintendent Dr. Gerald Wilson said the district was moving aggressively to raise salaries in hopes of being more successful in recruiting more teachers. The district received just one applicant each for a high school Language/Sociology/Psychology teacher, and an elementary Special Education teacher and no applicants for a Speech Therapist. The board hopes higher salaries will make teacher recruitment more successful.

Teachers aren't alone in getting raises this year - all school district employees will make more money next year. Paraprofessionals, such as school librarians, resource aides, and Title 1 instructors were moved to full time status (8 hours per day, 183 days/year) and given full benefits. The entire support staff, from bus drivers and secretaries to janitors were given raises. The largest single raise was given to High School Principal Dick Kennedy. Mr. Kennedy will make $65,641 next year, a $5,419 raise.

This slate of raises will cost the district $340,915 in total. The board unanimously approved the increases.

Wilson's Last Day

Thursday's meeting was the last for outgoing Pinedale Superintendent Dr. Gerald Wilson. Dr. Wilson is resigning to take a superintendent job in Oregon. He leaves behind a school district that is very strong financially, and is one of the strongest districts in the state academically judging by the statewide assessment.

"It has been truly a privilege to serve you, work with the children and the marvelous staff we have here," he told the board, which presented him with a painting by Daniel artist Kay Meeks as a going away gift.

Dr. Wilson outlined a couple of concerns he had, looking ahead. First were the graduation standards that will be imposed upon the class of 2003. How these standards will be assessed is a complicated puzzle that hasn't been solved by the State yet. Dr. Wilson also expressed concern over the statewide assessment, WyCAS, and assessing statewide standards in general. "The more that these standards have to be assessed," he told the board, "the more your teachers have additional responsibilities which take them from their primary responsibility, which is teaching children."

Dr. Wilson's replacement, Peggy Sanders, reports for work at the end of June. Ms. Sanders comes to Pinedale from Buffalo, where she was the Assistant Superintendent.

Other Items . . .

The Board awarded a bid in the amount of $266,800 to A. Pleasant Construction for a renovation of the high school art room. A $168,928 bid from FCC Construction in Pinedale was accepted for a high school parking lot remediation project.

Head Start, the Children's Discovery Center, Pinedale Preschool and Pinedale Learning Center were each awarded a $2,500 BOCES (Board of Cooperative Education Services) grant for staff development. According to Dr. Wilson, the goal is to encourage the preschools in Pinedale to begin instructing children 3-5 years old in guided reading exercises that are developmentally appropriate for those ages. Ideally, the preschool programs will link with the district's own reading program, and result in children arriving at Kindergarten better prepared to begin reading instruction.

Finally, the Board accepted the donation to the school district of a Dell Dimension computer from Jim Willright of Moose, Wyoming

See The Archives for past articles.

Copyright © 1999, 2000 The Sublette County Journal
All rights reserved. Reproduction by any means must have permission of the Publisher.
The Sublette County Journal, PO Box 3010, Pinedale, WY 82941   Phone 307-367-3713
Publisher/Editor: Rob Shaul