In the wake of an Election Day defeat on a tax proposition, Zachary School Board members decided to put a one-year freeze on step salary increases for employees for 2015-16.

“If you do nothing, everyone moves up one step on the salary schedule and you would have to find $500,000 to $600,000 from somewhere or transfer it from surplus,” Superintendent Scott Devillier said at the April 21 School Board meeting.

Devillier said the step pay increases effect everyone from his position on down.

“They deserve it and work really hard for it, but it would be financially irresponsible,” board member Heidi Vessel said. “If they could just give us until next year.”

The board also approved personnel changes within the district, including employment contract extensions, a few retirements and transfers, leaving vacancies that won’t be filled.

“This is a result of mandatory budget cuts since the tax proposal was defeated on March 28,” Devillier said. One of the changes includes the promotion of Lorrie Wax to assistant principal of Zachary Early Learning Center. Martha Davis will remain as principal over both ZELC and Northwestern Elementary.

Assistant Principal Rebecca Brian will transfer from Northwestern Middle to Northwestern Elementary, and Bianca Brown will become an assistant principal at Zachary High.

In addition to the step increases, the board amended the budget for the renovations to the multipurpose track and field at Zachary High School that was installed in 2007, said Athletic Director Jesse Cassard.

In March, the board approved a $975,000 budget to renovate the artificial turf and synthetic track, which had a warranty of eight years. The aggregate base and drainage system were guaranteed for six.

At the March meeting, Patrick Jenkins, director of operations, and engineer Don Simpson, construction supervisor, gave a presentation showing the uneven subsurfaces, depressions, torn seams, ripples and spongy or soft spots on both the track and field.

As a result, lanes on the track had to be closed due to deterioration and for safety reasons.

The renovation work was recently awarded to the lowest of three bidders, Geo-Surfaces, which bid $1.15 million. The work would have an eight-year warranty.

“If we don’t do this, we have a track and field just sitting there,” board member Beth Kimmell said.

Members approved the $175,000 budget revision to the general fund. The work is expected to begin May 1 and take 100 days to complete.

“There’s no doubt it provides an amazing thing for our kids and for our community. We don’t want to delay this,” board member Donna Grice said.

School Board members made several recognitions on behalf of the entire Zachary School District including the district’s 2014-15 Students of the Year.

Students of the Year are Carson Southall, Zachary Early Learning Center; Louis Martin, Northwestern Elementary; Isaiah Smith, Rollins Place Elementary; Skylar Campbell, Zachary Elementary; Christopher Masterson, Copper Mill Elementary; Talá Spates, Northwestern Middle; Eddie Veal, Zachary High School; and Deontré Goodie, Zachary Career and Technical Center.

Other honors included Elementary Principal of the Year, Jennifer Marangos, of Rollins Place Elementary; Math Olympiad students from Zachary Elementary and Copper Mill; Zachary High student Alexis Granville, a recent American Idol contender; and members of the Lady Broncos track team, who recently won the 2015 Girls Division I indoor state track championship.