Board approves teacher negotiations

ALAMOSA — Recently, school districts across the country have been fighting for higher pay. Locally at Alamosa School District, both the board of education and the Alamosa Education Association agreed on an increased salary and additional benefits during their annual negotiations meeting.

“It was a very productive, very exciting and very hopeful meeting,” said AEA President Louella Lenberg at Monday’s board meeting where the negotiations were approved.

Alamosa School District Superintendent Robert Alejo agreed and said that they were able to disburse additional funds into other areas that they’ve been working on.

“Our district has always approached negotiations with the association, starting with steps and lanes,” Alejo said. “They’re never a given. They’re a starting point, and from there we have some gravy to splash around the potatoes, so to speak. Our district is doing well.”

Approved was a 2.5 percent salary schedule increase based on experience and education, called steps and lanes. Currently, the average teacher salary at Alamosa School District is $48,106.

Another benefit approved is a longevity stipend that will take effect this fall. All teachers who have worked at the district for five years will receive $250 and those that have worked 10 will receive $500. The amount increases incrementally every five years of service.

A perfect attendance incentive will give teachers $75 per quarter and $100 at the end of each semester for a possible annual total of $500 if they never miss a day of school. Additionally, if teachers don’t take Fridays off they will be entered into a drawing for a $25 gift card per building per week. The district will also implement black out days to discourage taking time off immediately around holiday breaks by charging additional leave days.

This year’s legislative session allocated one-time funds for the school that will be used for additional staff and pay, such as the longevity incentive. One kindergarten teacher and one social-emotional counselor will be hired, and pay for substitute teachers will increase.

“We were able to award our teachers for their dedication to the Alamosa School District, and to me, that felt the best,” said board member Christine Haslett. “That was the best.”