Provo school board votes on bond 06

Jim Pettersson, president, looks among fellow members of the board as he asks for a vote about a bond that will be on the ballot partially concerning the future plans of Timpview High School and Dixon Middle School during a board meeting held by Provo City School District on Tuesday, April 23, 2019, at the school district's offices in Provo. Isaac Hale, Daily Herald

Timp Kiwanis Park should belong to the Provo City School District by the end of the month following approval from the district’s board of education Tuesday evening to purchase the property.

The Provo City School District Board unanimously voted to approve the purchase of the park for $2.13 million for 10.23 acres. The park is adjacent to Timpview High School.

Board President Jim Pettersson read a statement at the beginning of the board’s business meeting Tuesday that stated the current school board does not intend to build any major structures on the land and envisions it to be a green space that will be able to be used by the public. The park’s name will remain the same.

Pettersson said the park’s baseball field will receive improvements to make it more accessible to those with disabilities and a soccer-sized practice field will be added. The sand volleyball pit will be removed.

He said the city reached out to the district about the purchase and that discussions have been going on for two to four years.

“We are very appreciative of the good work that has been done by our district administration, the superintendent and those counterparts in Provo city,” Pettersson said during the business meeting.

The Provo City Council approved the sale last week. Stefanie Bryant, the school district’s business administrator, said Provo wants the deal closed by June 28.

“We are closing pretty quickly in order to get this to their deadline, but I think we can get it done,” Bryant said.

The land will be used to provide equitable access for gendered sports at the high school.

The deal will also add land to Timpview High School’s footprint. Voters will decide in November whether or not to approve a $245 million bond that would be used to rebuild multiple Provo schools, with $145 million earmarked for the rebuilding of Timpview High School

Salary changes

The board also unanimously voted Tuesday evening to approve a new negotiated agreement between the board and the Provo City School District Education Association.

The agreement includes funding two levels for employees on the enhanced salary schedule, which will increase the average teacher salary by 4.66%, adjust which level new teachers start on and adjust salary caps. The agreement also comes with a one-time tiered payment based on how many years a teacher has been with the district. That one-time payment will be $400 for teachers who have been with the district for up to four years, and increased by $100 for every additional five years.

First-year teachers previously started off with a salary of $40,500 a year, according to the 2018-19 salary schedule. The change will remove the Level A base contract price and have new teachers starting with the Level B base contract price, which was $41,350 for the 2018-19 school year.

Grandfathered employees will also receive a one-time 7% increase.

The changes will increase the district’s budget by about $580,000 in one-time costs and will be $2.3 million extra in ongoing costs.

Last year, the district provided teachers with a raise between 9% and 16%.

“We did a huge raise last year,” said Jason Cox, the deputy superintendent, said to the board during its study session prior to the business meeting. “This is in no way an insignificant raise. I think of the days as a teacher when 1 to 2% was fantastic.”

District administration voiced support for continuing to raise teacher salaries.

“It is a small increase, but it is a step in the right direction,” Bryant said.

Negotiations began in April. Christy Giblin, who spoke during the business meeting on behalf of the Provo City School District Education Association, said that even with the increases, the district does not compete with neighboring school districts.

“The association did agree to ratify this, but not because we love it, but because we know the school board’s priority this year is the bond,” she said.

She told the board she wants to see a commitment to looking at the salary schedule for teachers.

Jennifer Partridge, a member of the board, said she appreciated the comments.

“We will continue to see what we can do to work on that,” she said.

Braley Dodson covers health and education for the Daily Herald.

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