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— At a special meeting 6 p.m. Monday night, the Pea Ridge School Board met to discuss the Educational Excellence Trust Fund proposal to correct the distribution of increased funds discovered by a regular state audit and reported to the district in the auditor’s management report.

Instead of waiting until the end of the fiscal year, June 30, 2010, superintendent Mike Van Dykeproposed the board correct the issue now by issuing salary increases and retroactive pay.

The Educational Excellence Trust Fund consists of monies distributed by the state, dependent on area sales tax. After an increase of $19,246 in the Trust Fund for year 2007-2008, a required minimum base pay increase per full time employee was $148.

Out of a total $793 minimum increase required since 2007-2008, the district alreadyincreased base pay by $500 in ’07-’08 and $300 in ’08-’09. This leaves $141 left per employee to comply with the Trust Fund requirements.

The district owes retroactive pay to both teachers employed at this time and teachers who have left the district since the ’07-’08 school year.

To teachers no longer employed, the district owes $4,357.94 collectively. If the district is unable to contact the former employees, the funds willbe documented and left in the operating fund. Money does not sit in the salary fund, according to Van Dyke, but is moved every two weeks from the operating fund to accommodate salary expenses.

To teachers currently employed in Pea Ridge, the district owes $37,057.94 overall. The total cost to correct the error will be a little over $41,000.

Pea Ridge School District’s salary ranges are not comparable to other districts this size in thearea, according to Van Dyke.

“We are just about better than all of them except maybe Farmington,” Van Dyke said.

Out of 240 districts in the state, Pea Ridge is “mid-range to better for our size,” he said.

Van Dyke made a recommendation to correct this issue and board member Clark Tyndall moved to accept it, seconded by board member Darin Wright.

The next regular meeting of the board is set for 6 p.m. Monday, Dec. 14.

News, Pages 1 on 11/25/2009

Print Headline: Auditor finds extra money for teachers

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