School board to review salaries, funding needs

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By Lisa King

At its next regular meeting on Thursday, the Shelby County School Board will discuss a number of topics, including funding needs for three items.

The items that will be under consideration are salaries for the 2009-10 school year, unmet needs for the district and Section 7 allocation for the next school year.

Duanne Puckett, community relations coordinator for the school system, said that unmet needs include $50,000 for the recently approved Elementary Foreign Language Pilot Program at Southside Elementary.

Other items in that category include maintenance projects, summer school and other programs that promote student learning or teacher incentives.

Regarding salaries, the issue that will be under consideration is an increase for certified, classified and substitute employees in excess of the 1 percent required by the state.

Superintendent James Neihof said in a prepared statement that the board will consider the raise as part of the continuing budget process that has been "fine-tuned" both to meet anticipated cuts and to recognize exceptional work by the school staff.

"Everyone realizes we're in a tough economic picture right now, but we want to do what we can to help ease financial burdens for employees," he said.

Other funding items include recognition of those receiving awards for WOW (What Outstanding Work), contract agreements for staff changes, and also a resolution to see possible federal financial assistance for damage to school property from this winter's ice storm.

The board also will review:

* Reimbursement to the Environmental Protection Agency for EPA's part in the responding to the recent Mercury spill at the high school.

* Changes with the Head Start program.

* Agreements for Kymberly Rice and Thom Coffee to be appointed Highly Skilled Educators.

* Approval for Carol Franks to fill the elementary writing consultant position.

The meeting will take place at 7 p.m. the school's system's central office at 1155 West Main Street, and is open to the public. Persons needing access to the elevator should call  633-2375 before 4 p.m.

There will be a closed session at the end for the discussion and possible action on the sale and/or acquisition of real property.