Sheridan School Board addresses pay raises, trustee vacancies and bus routes

The Sheridan School District Board of Directors met on Oct. 12, catching up after their missed September meeting which was cancelled due to a variety of conflicts. Here’s a highlight reel of what was discussed.

• As education-related laws arise, the board addressed and approved a number of policy updates passed along by the Montana School Board association, with topics ranging from guidance and counseling to video surveillance, community use of facilities and enrollment and attendance records.

• Recognizing the district’s pay needs to be competitive with Sheridan’s other major employers, the board approved a $1.25 per hour pay raise for its approximately 20 classified employees, bus drivers included. Trustees also approved keeping bus drivers’ wait pay to be kept at full drive time wage rather than part-time.

• Revised and combined bus routes were discussed. This year the district is running three routes instead of the usual four. Sheridan, like other districts across the country, is feeling the bus driver shortage pinch as its driver crew ages and no new candidates have appeared just yet.

• District classified staff will now be required to use their personal sick time if they need to take leave for Covid-19-related isolation or quarantine.

• The board reviewed its Covid-19 policy with no changes to the district’s in-person learning situation.

• Two spots on the board have opened following trustees relocating out of the country. The board’s Alder seat, formerly filled by Bronwen Pfau, is open, as well as a local position formerly filled by Theresa Sutton.

• In his report Superintendent Mike Wetherbee noted progress on the high school entryway project, the front steps are coming along, landscaping has been completed and the railings should be completed soon.

• Looking at fall enrollment, district enrollment is up in the elementary and high schools while junior high numbers remain stagnant. Elementary enrollment is at 124, junior high is 26 and high school is 69. That’s around 20 more students in the elementary school than has been seen in recent years, said Superintendent Wetherbee, who noted this is a significant increase. The district’s early learning program has an enrollment of 14 pre-K students. That’s up from just two young learners enrolled when the program began in December of 2020.

The trustees will meet again on Nov. 9 at 7 p.m.

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The Madisonian

65 N. MT Hwy 287
Ennis, MT 59729

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