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School Board Reverses Course on $5,000 Stipends

Reversing a vote made in March, the St. Joseph School Board voted against awarding chief administrators $5,000 stipends.
(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) With a unanimous vote Monday, the St. Joseph School District took a first step toward eliminating controversial stipends.

Board members approved the removal of $5,000 dollar stipends for chief administrators during the meeting Monday.

It was a move that most had been calling for, and a reversal of their vote in March that approved the stipends.

An Ad-hoc committee, formed in the last month to look at stipends, recommended the $5,000 not be given to the administrators.

This is the first step some board members hope will clean up the salary structure for teachers and administrators.

"My motion is to do away with stipends," said board member Dennis Snethen. "From this point forward, pay people a decent wage and if you decide to give them raises, everybody gives them the same."

The $5,000 stipends had been a point of controversy, including a state audit, as they were originally given to 54 administrators without board approval.

Many in the community, including board member Chris Danford,raised questions about the legality of the stipends, especially since other chief administrators were also receiving other stipends not approved by the board.

A number of other stipends were approved by the board as recommended by the stipend committee.

However, the board did not follow the committee's recommendation to eliminate travel stipends and instead go to a per-mile reimbursement.

The stipend committee recommended the end of flat payments to administrators for travel and instead go to a per-mile reimbursement fee. They also approved a two percent raise for principals and other administrators based on last year's salary.

The board suggested all remaining stipends be revisited by the committee when they look at the overall salary structure for administrators in months to come.
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