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Sunday, July 14, 2024

APS approves across-the-board pay raises; state champions honored

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Senior members and coaches of the 2018 Lady Bulldog softball team pose with APS board members Monday after being recognized for their Class 5A state championship. (Teresa Lemon – Daily Press)

The Artesia Public Schools Board of Education approved a pay increase across the board Monday for all APS personnel.

Dr. Crit Caton, superintendent, received the board’s approval for the 2018-19 salary schedules for APS employees, the highlight being a 2.5-percent increase for all. Caton reported that would bring the average teacher’s salary up from $47,916 in 2017-18 to $51,034 for 2018-19.

The board also approved the proposed 2018-19 APS budget.

“It’s been a very trying past few months,” Caton said. “I am proud to say that we ended this fiscal year with approximately the same cash balance of 10 percent as last fiscal year and were able to give a raise to every employee.”

In other business, the board gave special recognition to Artesia High School seniors who earned state championships in the sports of softball, golf and track, as well as FFA, choir and band.

Loretta Fontanez was named the Tate Branch Auto Group Success Maker for the month of May and was presented with flowers, a plaque, and a check by award sponsor Tate Branch and Jason Ebert.

Fontanez is an eighth-grade English teach at Park Junior High School and was nominated for the award by a student, who wrote, “Thank you Ms. Fontantez for telling me when I’m in trouble and need help. You always make me smile. You always give us good advice and you always see the good in us.”

Assistant Superintendent of Operations Thad Phipps received the board’s approval to issue a Request for Proposal for speech/language pathology services.

Phipps then sought the board’s approval to accept proposals from Wesson Electric for electrical services for the district at a rate of $59 per hour; from Gunderson Heating and Cooling for HVAC services in the amount of $86,350 and preventative maintenance for the district in the amount of $76.50 per hour; and from United Builders for painting services for the district in the amount of $45 per hour. All were approved by the board.

Phipps further received approval to purchase laptops for the district in the amount of $279,720; to accept a proposal from Wade Construction for plumbing repairs at Grand Heights Early Childhood Center in the amount of $53,326.02 to replace corroded pipes in the building; to accept the low quote from Dale Davis Painting to paint the railings at Bulldog Bowl for a total cost of $42,761.26; to accept the proposal from Security USA to purchase and install the EAGL Gunshot detection system in each of the district’s elementary schools in the amount of $263,480 – “We have been piloting this system at Hermosa Elementary,” said Phipps, “and would like to have it in each of the elementary schools” – to accept the proposal from AK Sales for $59,929 to purchase new student tables for Zia Intermediate School; to accept the proposal from Speir Construction to reroof the field house at Bulldog Bowl in the amount of $248,474; and lastly, to fund the second phase of the Yucca HVAC project by Halloway Construction in the amount of $502,925.72.

In final business, Caton announced the retirements of Jesus Bejarano, custodian at Park Junior High, Shelley Ebarb, keyboarding/word processing teacher and coach at Artesia High, Dennis Garcia, assistant principal at Park Junior High, and Cindy Shetterly, cafeteria helper, Zia Intermediate; and the resignations of Joanna Devereux, English teacher at Artesia High, Rebecca Jane Austin-Gomez, fourth-grade teacher at Hermosa Elementary, Tara Gomez, fifth-grade teacher at Yeso Elementary, Haley Harper, fourth-grade teacher at Yeso, Nancie Hazelbaker, second-grade teacher at Central Elementary, Marjorie Hessler, fifth-grade teacher at Central, Pamela Mann, librarian at Artesia High, Kirsten Mauritsen, library assistant at Zia Intermediate, Grace Nwanne, math teacher at Artesia High, Kerrie Pitts, SPED teacher and rodeo coach at Park Junior High, Michaele Torres, third-grade teacher at Roselawn Elementary, Lauren Waits, speech language pathologist and SPED, Amanda Whitney, educational assistant at Yeso, and Philip Whitney, fourth-grade teacher at Yucca Elementary.

Caton also announced the hiring of Jackson Bickel, history and physical education teacher/coach for Artesia High, Jordan Gartman, fifth-grade teacher for Yucca, Megan Miller, fifth-grade teacher for Yucca, Brian Taylor, principal for Yucca, Chanda Crandall, assistant principal for Zia, and Michael Nuanes, assistant principal for Park.

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the board will be held at 7 p.m. Monday, June 11, in the Lowell M. Irby Board Room at the APS Administration Building, 301 Bulldog Blvd.

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