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Alexandria School Board members opt for raise

At the 2018 organizational meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 2, Alexandria School Board members chose to reassess their annual salary.

School board members will now have an annual salary of $3,600, a $510 jump from the 2017 salary.

In January 2008, the school board approved a motion to increase the salary for school board members by 3 percent each year. This motion was approved because the school board felt it was more appropriate to increase salary by small increments annually rather than large ones every few years.

"We found that it was sort of an uncomfortable thing to do it in one big jump like that," chairperson Dean Anderson said. "We proposed at that time that we would just do an annual increase. So far in the last seven to eight years, we've turned down our annual increase every year. So we're getting to that position again where it's going to be appropriate to do a bigger jump."

Since 2008, the board has only increased the salary once: At last year's organizational meeting when it opted to raise the annual salary 3 percent, from $3,000 to $3,090.

This year, however, the board did choose to make a larger jump after superintendent Julie Critz relayed information about salaries for school board members in districts of similar size.

"You are considerably low, especially for school districts that are our size," she said. "I understand you are uncomfortable, but you definitely are underpaid...I really feel like you don't need to feel guilty about giving yourselves a raise. The amount of time all of you put into the district is a tremendous amount."

School board member Alan Zeithamer suggested increasing the annual salary by 16.5 percent, to $3,600. Other board members agreed.

"We're not here for the money," Zeithamer added. "It's the passion."

In other action, Dean Anderson was re-appointed chairperson, Dave Anderson was re-appointed to vice chairperson and Pam Carlson was re-appointed to the clerk/treasurer position.

Board members also were appointed to a variety of committees, including personnel/negotiations, curriculum/policy and budget/facilities.

Other action items

• Approving the Echo Press as the district's official newspaper for legal publications and postings.

• Approving Bremer Bank, Bell Bank and Minnesota School District Asset Fund Plus as the official depositories for district money for the 2018 calendar year.

• Approving the school board calendar.

• Approving Kennedy and Graven; Swenson, Lervick, Syverson, Trosvig, Jacobson, Shultz; and Dorsey Whitney Law Firm to serve as legal counsel for the district.

• Approving Ringdahl Architects; Widseth, Smith, Nolting and Associates; and JLG Architects as on-call architects for the district.

• Approving Eide Bailly as the financial auditing firm for the 2017-2018 school year.

Beth Leipholtz

Beth is a reporter at the Echo Press. She graduated from the College of Saint Benedict in May 2015 with a degree in Communication and Hispanic Studies. Journalism has always been her passion, but she also enjoys blogging and graphic design. In her spare time, she's most likely at Crossfit or at home with her boyfriend and three dogs.

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