Wage freeze remains as South Range approves contract with classified staff

GREENFORD – The South Range Board of Education approved a one-year contract with classified staff members Friday morning, keeping a wage freeze intact and making no changes to health insurance.

“These are good folks. They care about the community. We’re just hanging in there together and trying to preserve the district,” Superintendent Dennis Dunham said when contacted by phone.

The school board met in special session to consider the contract.

Members of the South Range Classified Employees Association approved the contract earlier in the week. The bargaining unit covers about 60 workers who serve the district as bus drivers, cafeteria workers, secretaries, custodians, aides and nurses.

The previous contract expired July 1.

Dunham said this is the third year of an absolute salary freeze, with no wage increases and no movement on salary steps. There were some minor language changes regarding bus drivers since the district switched from multiple bus routes to single routes as a cost-saving measure. All students K-12 are picked up at the same time and leave at the same time instead of having a separate route for elementary students.

The new contract is retroactive to July 1. Dunham explained that because of where the district is financially, they can’t certify more than a one-year contract. He said the employees are a great group to work with, adding “they represent South Range in the best way possible.”

The board is still negotiating with the teaching staff represented by the South Range Education Association. Their contract expired Sept. 1.

The district has an additional 4.8-mill 10-year emergency levy on the Nov. 5 ballot for general operating expenses.

“We’re just trying to preserve what we have,” Dunham said.