Negotiations between the District and teachers’ union representatives began May 19. A tentative agreement on a two-year contract was reached in mediation Dec. 10.
The primary change was minimal, in clearly defining “family” in regards to leave requests for illness and/or emergency. This language now aligns with state statutes.
Financially, there is an increase of 1.33 percent in year one, and 2.04 percent in year two. Teachers may also receive step and lane increases for their experience and continuing education from an accredited institution.
Including steps, lanes, TRA and FICA, the total package will cost the District $249,444. The pay increase for teachers is retroactive to the beginning of the school year.
The board set its assignments for 2014. The Eden Valley State Bank is the depository for District funds. Ratwik, Roszak & Maloney PA is the District’s legal counsel. The 2014 board calendar was approved.
By sole nomination, Rob Flaschenriem became chair of the school board; Sarah Kuechle became vice-chair. These officer positions were renewed: Bob Stenger treasurer, and JoAnn Rademacher clerk. Committee assignments remained the same for board members as 2013.
None on the board could remember the last time board compensation was increased (at least 12 years ago). The board unanimously increased their meeting compensation from $40 to $45, half-day meeting compensation from $40 to $45, and full-day meeting compensation from $80 to $90.
There was discussion and then a vote on which newspaper would be named the official, legal newspaper of the District. By a 5-2 vote, the Tri-County News was named the official paper for 2014.
The Governor closed schools across the state Jan. 6 because of extreme cold weather; this day does not need to be made up. The EV-W District (and many others in the area) closed schools Jan. 7 for the same reason; this day does not need to be made up. If there is another snow day, however, staff will need to make it up with a fall workshop day. If a fourth snow day is called, then everyone will need to make it up Feb. 14. (Jan. 6 is not considered an instructional day, so there is no financial impact to the District being closed that day.)
The ARMER emergency radios have been ordered.
The Civil Rights audit went well, with the District to be required to make a few changes for which the District has a voluntary compliance plan. For one, the words “Equal Opportunity Employer” must be publicized by the District. Another is that, since there are shower curtains in the girls’ showers in the locker room, now shower curtains must be installed in the boys’ showers in their locker room. Another area is handicap accessibility: water lines under bathroom sinks must be wrapped for wheelchair users, and the District needs to add an accessible van parking spot. The audit was based on rotation, it was the District’s turn to be checked on; there was no incident or complaint that prompted the audit. “It’s a lot of hoop-jumping,” said Superintendent Messman.
Next year’s Christmas break will have 8 days again because of how the Holidays fall on the calendar.
Recently eight fifth- and sixth-grade students were selected to go to “Science Rocks” day at St. Cloud State University. There were about 800 students there from all over, with each participating in four one-hour hands-on learning stations. Mary Holmberg reported that they all were very well behaved. They had been selected based on science scores, class participation, and enthusiasm.
Bruce Kiehn reported that Tracy Huhn received a $12,000 grant to supplement her food chemistry classes. She also will receive a $2,500 Monsanto grant.
This year’s prom will be different: Grand March will be moved up at the school, then students will be bussed to Harriet Island for a dinner/river cruise (students raised the money to do this). They’ll be taken to The Club by bus for the post-prom party.
The District spent about $17,000 on attachments for the Kubota tractor which is being used more now for plowing snow. The attachments are traded in and rotated on a different schedule than the motorhead of the tractor. It appears that the Kubota is on a five-year rotation for replacement.
The next board meeting is at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 12, with an open forum at 6 p.m. The next cycle of budget discussion will begin at the Feb. 12 meeting. There is a second February meeting at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday,
Feb. 26 (with no public forum).