Sequim School board directors were busy Monday, Nov. 5, as they approved salary increases for two district bargaining units and discussed projects from Fir Street to Carlsborg.
Board directors unanimously approved — with director Robin Henrikson absent — contracts and new salary schedules for district paraeducators and bus drivers at the board meeting.
Paraeducators will see a 15.9-percent salary increase over two years (2018-2019 and 2019-2020).
Bus drivers have a three-year contract and will see a 9.1-percent salary increase in the 2018-2019 school year. The second and third years of the contract will add a 1-percent salary increase plus the consumer price index (based on Seattle area) for that year.
Randy Hill, the district’s human resource director, said at the Monday meeting, “For the most part, everything has been positive” during contract negotiations.
Two Sequim bargaining units that remain in negotiations are district secretaries, represented by the Public School Employees (PSE) union and exempt administrative employees.
PSE president Kayana Harrison said secretaries are hoping to get salary increases that are closer to what Port Angeles School District office personnel are paid.
“That’s our stand,” Harrison said in an interview. “And it costs more to live in Sequim.”
Union members say Sequim office personnel are paid significantly less than Port Angeles office personnel, depending upon the type of position and years of experience. Port Angeles secretaries also receive a vacation factor in their salaries while Sequim secretaries do not, Sequim staff say.
Sequim secretaries work full-time hours, Harrison said.
The PSE bargaining unit is scheduled to have another meeting with the district on Tuesday, Nov. 13.
Meggan Uecker from Clallam County Public Works presented to the school board about the option of Greywolf Elementary School hooking up to the Carlsborg Sewer Project in a workshop meeting on Nov. 5.
The Carlsborg Sewer project was completed in the summer of 2017 and allows residential or commercial unit owners in the Urban Growth Area (UGA) who have paid the connection fee and received all applicable permits to connect to the sewer system that runs from the Carlsborg pump station to the City of Sequim’s collection system at Grant Road.
Because Greywolf Elementary School is within that growth area, Clallam County Public Works is giving the district an option to hook up to the Carlsborg sewer system.
The school currently has an on-site septic system with three drain fields and three reserve drain fields.
Public Works officials said hooking up to the sewer system could help address water quality issues in the groundwater in the Carlsborg area and is a proactive step that could prevent more costly required actions with maintaining a septic system in the future.
The district must submit an application to Public Works by March 31 to receive an incentivized connection fee of $1,500; the regular connection fee after the March deadline is $8,000.
Connection fees are based on equivalent residential units (ERUs), and Uecker said the elementary school is equal to about 24 ERUs.
If the district submits an application within the incetivized period it could cost about $36,000, but afterward it could cost the school district about $192,000.
The district also would receive a monthly bill for the sewage connection determined by a base fee and a fee per cubic foot of water usage, which would cost about $1,200 per month, Uecker said.
Hooking up to the sewer system also would require the school district to hire a contractor to install the connection and decommission the septic system.
Uecker said there are state and federal funding options available for the district to help aid with the costs, such as clean water loans or grant funding.
School board members did not take action on this item.
West Fir Street Rehabilitation
School board directors unanimously voted to table — or set aside for another public meeting — the City of Sequim acquisitions for the West Fir Street Rehabilitation Project.
The project will affect six large district-owned facilities: The Sequim Boys & Girls Club, Helen Haller Elementary School, Sequim High School’s softball field, surplus school buildings and the high school’s band and choir room/gym facility, as well as parts of the high school along West Fir Street.
The City must purchase right of way along these facilities on West Fir Street from the district in order to move forward with its project.
The project will impact the area from West Fir Street to Fifth Avenue and aims to widen the road north and south of the six district-owned facilities.
It requires utility work and street improvements, creates complete sidewalks and adds street lighting, landscaping, bike lanes and storm water improvements in front of the six district-owned facilities, said Matt Klontz, City engineer and assistant director of Public Works.
In a presentation to the school board on Oct. 15, the City offered the district two options to purchase right-of-way.
Option one would compensate the district with $204,000 to purchase right-of-way while option two offers about $202,000 in exchange for right of way.
Within those two options, it will cost about $106,000 to fix the high school softball field, as the property will be impacted by the project.
“(The City) is widening the road to the north which impacts that dugout (near the third baseline),” Klontz said.
“The field layout is not such where you can build a new third base dugout without needing to change the baseline and configuration of the field.”
Klontz said the whole field will need to be shifted to the north. New fencing will be required for the outfield, dugouts and backstop.
“It will be the school district’s decision when (reconfiguration) will happen,” Klontz said. “The City will provide funds to the school in a lump sum for reconstruction of the ball field.”
Most of the internal parking at Helen Haller and the Boys & Girls Club won’t be impacted by reconstruction, Klontz said, but the pull-in areas and any parking along West Fir Street will be impacted.
West Fir Street construction is slated to start in the spring of 2019, Klontz said.
The board adjourned the meeting and met in executive session to discuss the performance of a district employee and the possible sale of a district asset.