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Dickinson School Board approves salary increase for staff

Press Photo by Ashley Martin Vince Reep, Dickinson Public Schools assistant superintendent speaks during a school board meeting Monday evening while Superintendent Doug Sullivan and board president Kris Fehr look on.

About 170 employees of Dickinson Public Schools could see a 6.5 percent salary increase July 1.

The Dickinson Public School Board unanimously approved the increase for classified staff who receive a satisfactory review during a meeting at the Central Administrative Office Monday evening.

"Given the ever-escalating wages that are occurring in the community right now, it's important for us and our classified staff to try to remain competitive so we don't lose them all to other employers," said DPS Superintendent Doug Sullivan.

Assistant Superintendent Vince Reep said it's been more difficult to maintain male classified staff.

"This is not only warranted, but necessary," said Board member Leslie Ross said of the increase. "We need to do this."

Classified staff includes custodians, clerical, paraprofessionals, kitchen workers and playground supervisors, Sullivan said after the meeting.

Their existing salary ranges from about $10 an hour to about $22 an hour, Reep said.

In other matters, DPS will add a resident teacher for students with disabilities and autism next school year. To create that position, $18,000 has been set aside, Sullivan said during the meeting.

In addition third, fourth and fifth grade teachers may be added to the school system.

"Due to the enrollment in the school district and some larger classes moving through, it will be necessary to request and recommend to the school board three new teaching positions for next year," Sullivan said.

Reep also gave a brief update on the construction of a new elementary school on the north side of Dickinson.

Officials are looking into using geothermal heating, he said. A name also has to be decided upon.

"It will ultimately be the board's decision what to name this new elementary," Reep said.

School Board President Kris Fehr said she has gotten feedback from the community about the new elementary school.

"They said build the school as big as you can possibly build it, because if you get the impact from Williston they don't want to turn around and add additions on if we could fit it into what we're currently doing," she said.

Reep said the school will accommodate at least 400 students and be expandable.

"We are not Williston," he said. "We've done some preplanning."

The board also reluctantly accepted retirement and resignation applications from six teachers and a school psychologist.

Board member Rebecca Pitkin said the teachers represent 166 years of experience.