The Lewiston School Board approved next year’s budget and awarded a 3.1 percent pay increase to classified employees, administrators and supervisors at its Monday night meeting.

The raise is the same amount awarded to certified employees earlier this year.

The only contract or raise still to be considered is for Superintendent Bob Donaldson. The decision is expected to take place during the board’s retreat later this month.

The board unanimously approved a proposed general fund budget of almost $44.4 million for the next school year, up from the $42.6 million budget proposed a year ago for the 2018-19 school year, which was amended to $43.2 million during the meeting.

Much of the increase between the budget for the 2018-19 school year and the 2019-20 school year is because of increases to salaries and wages, as well as an increased cost to the Public Employee Retirement System of Idaho, which provides retirement and other benefits to employees. Leann Hubbard, the district’s director of business, said salary and benefits account for 87 percent of the district’s budget, so adjustments, however small, can account for large differences between budgets.

Other actions taken Monday included:

The board authorized the administration to submit a three-year seat time waiver request to the Idaho State Board of Education for Tammany High School. Earlier this year, the board adopted a comprehensive school improvement plan for the alternative school which would switch the program to a mastery-based curriculum. Students under a mastery-based education plan have to show they are competent in content areas, and are not required to commit 60 hours of “seat time” to earn a credit.

“This request allows us to move that program in a direction to better meet the needs of those learners,” Assistant Superintendent Lance Hansen said.

Hansen said the mastery-based model will also help students who have to retake a class they may have already sat through unsuccessfully.

“They could potentially be unsuccessful if they were taught in the same way again,” Hansen said. “This is an attempt, or one tool available, to our school to help those kids.”

School board member Alexis Morgan applauded the district for taking a new approach.

“I appreciate the alternative strategy to meet the needs of the students through mastery-based education,” she said. “I think it’s great.”

Tomtas may be contacted at or (208) 848-2294. Follow her on Twitter @jtomtas.

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