Belen School District’s Superinte-ndent Don Duran will pass on a pay raise for next year.
During the Belen School Board’s renewal of Duran’s contract Tuesday night, Board President Julian Luna announced that the district’s top administrator is not accepting a pay raise for the second half of his current two-year contract.
“We don’t know what type of budget we will have for next year,” Luna said reflecting on Gov. Gary Johnson and the state legislature battle over the state budget. “We worked hard last year to give all employees good raise, but we do not know what we will be able to do this year.”
In that light, Duran said, “I think it’s important when employees are facing the big issue of possibly not receiving cost-of-living raises that the administration takes care of the staff first. I want the district to have the money, which was offered in my raise, available for the employees.”
“This decision shows the form of leadership we have,” Board Member Al Wisneski said. “We were going to give him a raise, but he didn’t want it.”
The board approved continuing the superintendent’s salary at the negotiated daily rate of his current contract, which is $86,000 for 12 months.
Without accepting a raise, Duran said his actual take-home pay will probably be less this year because the health insurance benefits withdrawn from all employees’ checks is expected to go up.
Duran did ask for an increase in was the rate for sick-day leave. The employees of Belen School District receive a half day per pay period, or 13 for a year. Duran asked for a full day per pay period, or 26 for the year.
“When I left the Albuquerque School District to come here, I lost 180 sick days. I want to build up my reserve in case of illness,” he said.
During the board’s annual reorganization, the members said they wanted to leave their president, vice president and secretary “just the way it is,” as Adrian Pino put it.
The board unanimously elected Luna as president, Lola Quintana as vice president and Paul Trujillo as secretary.
“Because of our goal to give the kids of Belen the best possible education, we are able to overcome our differences which occur at times. But I appreciate each board member’s opinions,” Luna said. “Because of our goal, I think we have the best board we’ve had in Belen.”
“I enjoy being on this board,” Wisneski said. “We always hear each person’s opinion.”
Quintana agrees that the board is working together. “We agree on what we want to accomplish and things are working.”
“It’s been a great year,” Pino said. “We are striving to teach our kids from the bottom to the top. We want to prepare them for their future. We want kids to come out of school and be capable of moving into the work force.”
In other action, the board:
- Chose Productive Data System to prepare data and propose changes to the board member districts in accordance to state and federal laws regarding redistricting every 10 years.
- Approved a bid for Belen Middle School music lab equipment from Yamaha Corporation of America for $15,125.