Breakfast prices will go up 25 cents at Durango School District 9-R cafeterias next year, and the cost for a day in the Kids Camp program will increase by $3 a day.
The increase in breakfast costs will bring in about $13,730, not nearly enough to cover the increased cost the food services program will incur as the district moves to provide all support staff with a livable wage.
Cafeteria workers will make at least $13 an hour next year compared with a minimum of $11 this year, which will increase costs for food services by $235,000.
La Plata County Thrive, which advocates for a living wage, lists a living wage of $13.31 for a single person in La Plata County but offers credits for benefits such as health insurance.
District spokeswoman Julie Popp said when all 9-R benefits are taken into account, the district’s minimum wage in 2018-19 would be about $18 an hour.
Breakfast costs will go from $1.25 in elementary schools to $1.50, from $1.50 to $1.75 in middle schools and from $2 to $2.25 at Durango High School.
The district subsidizes the Kids Camp summer child care program, which serves about 140 children, by about $40,000 a year.
The $3-a-day increase will still require a subsidy from the district for the summer program, but a $5-per-day increase, which would have eliminated the summer camp subsidy, was rejected as too steep.
Demand in Kids Camp exceeds available spots, but with the district increasing wages for support staff to a livable wage, more people might be attracted to serve as staff members, which would allow the program to increase the number of children who could be served.
“We’re really pleased we were able to get support staff to a livable wage,” said Jennifer Latham, president of the Durango Education Support Professionals Association.
The district’s budget includes $425,800 in additional funding for salary increases for support staff in 2018-19.
The board tabled a vote on a new salary schedule for the Durango Education Association, the teachers union, but the delay was only to get a better picture of the final budget. Revenue projections from state and federal sources are still incomplete and tentative.
Stephanie Mt Pleasant, president of the DEA, said she was pleased with negotiations and expected the salary schedule to be adopted at the board’s June 5 meeting.
The district budgeted a $770,000 increase to pay for teachers advancement on the salary schedule in 2018-19.
Board members were also presented a budget of $54.29 million for 2018-19, a $5.24 million increase over the 2017-18 budget. Per-pupil funding is expected to be $7,954 for 2018-19 compared with $7,582 for 2017-18. Adoption of the budget is expected at the June 19 board meeting.
Besides meeting a living wage standard for support staff, budget initiatives included increasing support to meet the social-emotional needs of students.
The district plans to hire 7.5 full-time-equivalent positions for 2018-19 to enhance its ability to meet the social-emotional needs of students.
9-R Superintendent Dan Snowberger said Pueblo Community College will pay for a $200,000 remodel of now-unused space at Durango High School that PCC will move into next year, and the district is paying for a remodel at DHS for an early childhood center and playground that will provide child care options for 9-R employees.
The early childhood center, Snowberger said, would aid in attracting and retaining teachers.
“We lose teachers every year because they can’t find good options for child care,” he said.
The 13 positions for child care in the center are already filled, Snowberger said, and a waiting list has been established.