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Greater Albany Public Schools district office.

The Greater Albany Public Schools board of directors adopted its $280.1 million budget for next school year with a 3-0 vote during its meeting on Thursday night.

That’s slightly up from the $279.5 million budget approved by the budget committee in May, partly due to a new contract with teachers that gives them a 2 percent wage increase for 2019-20.

The board also voted without opposition to ratify that contract on Wednesday. (Board members Jennifer Ward, Frank Bricker and Lyle Utt were present, but Kim Butzner was absent.)

Directors also dealt with transportation issues, and outlined the process for appointing a new board member.

There will be plenty of changes for the GAPS board the next time it meets.

Thursday was the last meeting for Bricker, Utt and Tim Mills, interim superintendent.

Bricker, who served on the board for 25 years, is retiring from the position.

Utt, who served on the board for eight years, was defeated in the May election by Michael Thomson. Thomson and Eric Aguinaga, elected to Bricker’s seat in May, will be sworn in at a board meeting on July 9.

Melissa Goff also has been hired as GAPS superintendent, and she’ll start work on July 1.

In August, the GAPS board is set to gain another new member, to fill Micah Smith’s seat. Smith resigned from the government body earlier this month.

According to the process to fill Smith’s at-large director position: applications for the seat are due on July 19; on Aug. 5, the board will determine finalists; on Aug. 15, the finalists will be interviewed, and the board will vote to select a board member; and on Aug. 19, the new board member will be sworn in.

Applications for the GAPS board are available online at albany.k12.or.us. Applicants must have lived in the school district boundary for the last year, must be 18, must not be an employee of the district, and must be registered to vote.

Regarding transportation, the directors approved the purchase of seven new school buses for $780,000, and gave the go ahead for an architectural design for a new district transportation facility on Ferry Street.

The design contract, with gLAs Architects of Eugene, is for $663,000.

“This begins the point of no return. … Regardless of when it gets constructed, we have to have plans,” said Russell Allen, GAPS executive director of operations and business. Allen added that this was the first significant expense on the project.

Utt chuckled that the project had been in discussion for a decade.

“At least,” Bricker responded wryly.

Construction for the district, being funded through a $159 million bond, is at its peak, said David McKay, bond project director.

“It’s a very, very busy summer,” he said.

However, Meadow Ridge School, set to open in early January, is about 19 days behind schedule, he acknowledged.

“We’re seeing tremendous progress,” he told the board.

In a brief interview, McKay said the district was working diligently with the contractor to have the school ready after winter break.

“We’re kind of chipping away at it, so I fully expect it to be ready on time,” said Ward, board chairwoman, in an interview after the meeting.

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Kyle Odegard can be reached at kyle.odegard@lee.net, 541-812-6077 or via Twitter @KyleOdegard.

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