School board approves budget, superintendent’s contract

Superintendent Rhonda Seidenwurm was given a two-year contract with an annual salary of $138,700 at a board meeting on Tuesday.

By Kevin Wilson: CNJ staff writer

Following a lengthy executive session, the Clovis Municipal Schools Board of Education approved the 2008-09 budget and the contract of Superintendent Rhonda Seidenwurm.

Seidenwurm, Clovis’ superintendent since 2005, was given a two-year contract with an annual salary of $138,700. That is a 2.8 percent increase from last year.

The contract was given on the condition board members received evaluation tools no later than mid-December 2008 and evaulate her with those standards no later than Jan. 27, 2009 — the fourth Tuesday of the month.

Seidenwurm thanked the board for its vote of confidence, and had previously in the meeting given a positive outlook for the upcoming budget.

The upcoming budget is $57,464,451, with about 90 percent going towards salaries. Teachers on average are receiving a 2.95 percent increase.

There were concerns from Seidenwurm previously that large cuts may be necessary to offset the loss of students from personnel drops at Cannon Air Force Base. Seidenwurm had estimated a loss of 400 students as the base transitioned to Air Force Special Operations Command, but the drop was closer to 160 students.

Further, she said, a drop in students across New Mexico bumped up the value of unit credits for Clovis Municipal Schools.

Board Secretary Mark Lansford said he was asked by many citizens what would be done with money saved from installing an artificial grass surface at Leon Williams Stadium. The move is expected to save the district around $87,000 annually, and Seidenwurm said that money would go into the school’s cash balance.

“If our budget had been as thin as I thought it was going to be,” Seidenwurm said, “I would have an absolutely different answer.”

As far as getting rid of the grass at Leon Williams Stadium, the sod was cut into sections and made available for purchase by Clovis residents. The sale brought in $7,400 to offset turf installation costs, and Clovis Schools Operations Director Gene Bieker said it was an easy sale.

“They were lined up well before we opened the gates,” Bieker said.