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The Artesia Public Schools Board of Education approved several pay increases Monday at its regularly-scheduled meeting.

Dr. Crit Caton, superintendent, received the board’s approval for the 2016-17 salary schedules for APS employees, the highlight being that Level 2 teachers with three years experience will receive and increase to $42,000 and $42,100, and Level 3 teachers’ salaries will increase to $52,000 and $52,100. The board approved the recommendations.

Caton also accepted a two-year contract at a pay rate of $145,000 per year.

In other business, the board received a request to approve the proposed 2016-17 Artesia High School graduation requirements and course description book.

Eric Greer, AHS principal, and Mark McAlister, assistant principal at AHS, presented the changes to the board, one being that the Class of 2016 would be the final class graduating from AHS that is not required to have the state-mandated health credit; therefore, the health class, which is currently being taught in seventh grade, will now be taught in the ninth grade.

The modern U.S. history class, which is currently being taught in ninth grade, will be moved to the 11th-grade course offerings in order to align the course with other high schools in the state. A STEM class and a current events class will be added to the ninth-grade course offerings, and a MESA class will be added to the high school offerings.

AHS will also be adding three new dual-credit classes: English IV, Spanish and U.S. government. The board approved the graduation requirements and course description book for the 2016-17 school year.

Assistant Superintendent of Operations Thad Phipps sought the board’s approval to obtain bids for bread, cafeteria food, fresh fruits and vegetables, and kitchen supplies, as well as bids for plumbing services, student activity drug testing, sports training and rehabilitation, and security services, and custodian supplies and copy paper, all of which are typically bid out on a year-to-year basis. This year’s exception would be a three-year plumbing services bid. The board granted their approval.

Phipps then sought the board’s approval to accept proposals to replace the Cisco ASA Firewall, the network filter, and the network switches that service the district’s computer systems. The amount for these network upgrades totals $274,705.22 and was approved by the board.

Phipps further sought to purchase and install new fire alarm systems for Central, Hermosa and Yucca elementary schools and Zia Intermediate School in the amount of $417,717, $300,000 of which would come from HB33 monies for a cost to the district of $117,717. That request was also approved.

In final business, Caton announced the retirements of Carol Gutierrez, elementary teacher at Penasco School, and the resignations of Jill Ballew, first-grade teacher at Yeso Elementary; Margarita Campos, cook/server in the cafeteria department; Jennifer Houghtaling, cheer coach at Artesia High School; and Kathryn Speck, library assistant at Yeso Elementary.

Daniel Luna has been hired as a cafeteria delivery driver and maintenance assistant.

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the board will be at 7 p.m. Monday, May 9, in the Lowell M. Irby Board Room at the APS Administration Building, 1106 W. Quay Ave.