SD2 board meets to continue budget hearing

2011-08-21T22:00:00Z 2011-08-22T16:47:49Z SD2 board meets to continue budget hearingBy ROB ROGERS Of The Gazette Staff The Billings Gazette
August 21, 2011 10:00 pm  • 

After postponing their meeting last week because of open records concerns, Billings School District 2 trustees will continue their public hearing on the budget Monday night.

The hearing was closed early last Monday after Trustee Pam Ellis expressed concerns about its legality. She said documents delivered individually to trustees hadn't been made available to the public.

All material the district has collected and disseminated to trustees regarding the budget -- including emails from Ellis requesting information and listing facts she's learned -- will be available to the public on the second floor of the Lincoln Center.

The material will be in the office of Leo Hudetz, board clerk, all day Monday. He said most of the new material is Ellis' emails.

One of the most contentious points of the new budget involve steps and lanes raises for district teachers. Steps and lanes are raises staff members receive for longevity and additional certification or education.

In various budget scenarios prepared by district staffers for the trustees, steps and lanes raises have been left off the ledger. Some took that to mean the district was going to offer no steps and lanes raises this year. 

District officials contend they have the authority to renegotiate steps and lanes. The union has said the district has no authority to do it.

Much of the discussion Monday is expected to revolve around how trustees want to approve the budget -- a version with steps and lanes factored in to one where the raises are absent.

Contact Rob Rogers at rrogers@billingsgazette.com or 657-1231.

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