USD 418 took action Monday to prepare financially for the 2012-2013 year, approving a series of pay increases for its employees while receiving positive valuation reports on property within the district.


USD 418 took action Monday to prepare financially for the 2012-2013 year, approving a series of pay increases for its employees while receiving positive valuation reports on property within the district.
On the recommendation of the district’s administration, board members voted unanimously to significantly increase pay for certified, classified and administrative employees. Each level will see 4 percent pay raises during the next school year, a sign of rising optimism about future finances even as future state funding remains unpredictable.
“Conditions were questionable over the past few years and even now remain uncertain,” USD 418 Superintendent Randy Watson said.
Affected employees will see pay increases of 4 percent, with additional raises for work done outside of contracted time. Watson said employees had increasingly completed training and other district work outside of the school year, which was typically reimbursed at a rate of $15 per hour. That rate will raised to $20 per hour, constituting part of the additional pay increase included in Monday’s action.
The total increase will place an additional budgeting burden on the district of $442,283 for certified employees, $373,532 for classified employees and $69,882 for administrative employees for a total increase of $885,697.
Additionally, the board voted unanimously in executive session to approve Watson’s salary for the upcoming school year at $139,900.
Those increases will likely be supported by substantial increases in the district’s valuation, from which USD 418 raises revenue. Associate superintendent of business and operations Chris Ruder told board members the district’s total valuation as of July 2012 was $173,264,848, a 3.7 increase from the same time in 2011. Additionally, the total value applicable to the district’s general fund increased by more than $6 million to $161,160,966.
Ruder expressed reservations about the positive numbers, questioning whether or not an error might have been made. The information from the McPherson County Clerk’s office on which Ruder’s presentation was made suggested territory had been added to the district, something both Ruder and Watson refuted.
While he said he would confirm the report with the County Clerk’s office, Ruder remained positive about the numbers.
“As of right now, based on these numbers, assessed value is up,” he said.
The positive financial news continued throughout the meeting. Two projects for which the board had solicited bids had come back with estimates well below projections, including significant repairs to McPherson High School’s parking lot. The winning bid for that project, for which $150,000 had been budgeted during the course of two years, came in at $56,773, about $100,000 below the administration’s projections.
Ruder said the excess funds would be carried over into future budgets to help pay for further parking lot repairs as needed.
Bids for a second project, to replace windows in one of the district’s gymnasiums, also returned below expectations. The board selected a bid of $40,000 for the replacement of the windows, having budgeted $50,000 for the project.