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Union North School Board Approves Pay Raises

June 10, 2011
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06/13/11  The Union-North School Board voted unanimously in approval of pay raises for certified, non-certified and building administers for the 2011-2012 school year. Certified staff will receive an approximately two percent increase. Superintendent Dr. Terry Barker said there will be significant changes in laws as of July 1 concerning evaluations, due process and reduction of staff that will change how pay increases are allowed in the future. Barker said teachers will be evaluated in the future every year and deemed ineffective, needs improvement, effective or highly effective.   Barker said he is working on a rubric to be used as an evaluation tool that he will present at a July board meeting. Once approved by the board, the rubric would have to be approved by the Department of Education as well.

Non-certified staff will also receive an approximately two percent pay increase, but will not be receiving stipends as they have in the past. According to Barker, the increases will be determined on an hourly or salary rate depending on the positions. He also indicated that there are changes now in the non-certified handbook that concern specific times, such as one week before or after a school year, when non-certified staff can not take vacations without supervisor and superintendent approval.

Administrators at both the LaVille Elementary and Jr.-Sr. High School will receive a one-and-a- half raise and all three were given a one year extension on their contracts.

Although board polices states that the superintendent is to be evaluated by June 30 of each year, the date has been changed to November 30 of each year. It was noted in the meeting that two of the board members are new and may not have had sufficient time to evaluate the superintendent. The board approved a 1.3 percent raise for the superintendent.

Board members will meet on June 11 and June 18 with other members of the community to set goals for upcoming years.

A discussion item concerning the Transportation Director position included in the June 9 meeting evoked strong opinions from board members, Superintendent Barker and the current Transportation Director Lylah Swathwood. Board member Dennis Graf asked why the Transportation Director was not included in a committee that reviewed bus route bids. Union-North has a number of bus routes filled by contracted drivers who own their own buses. Each year the board takes bids to fill the routes. Barker said, “I don’t know why. As long as I’m here, she will be.”

Graf continued by asking why a Transportation Director receives $35,000 per year and a first-year teacher is paid closer to $32,000. He said, “It takes you (teachers) six years to get where a person with no degree is.” Barker said many have specialized knowledge and training. He said, “Multiple factors play into that.”

Graf added, “In your opinion, it still needs to be a 12-month position?” Barker then named several responsibilites that had to be met during summer months.

Barker said, “All the schools around us have a single-point person.” He added, “I have to be able to turn my attention to achievement (student).” Dixon said Swathwood was already on the payroll, and for a few more dollars they could have the duties centralized in one area.

Board member Dave Grenert asked several times what event lead up to the creation of the position. Dixon said, “I think it was a build up of things not being done right in Transportation.”

Swathwood defended her position by listing some of the things she has does in the job. She said, “Not one person has spent time with me or asked me what I do around here.” Nobody has come out to that garage and see what I do every day.”

As the matter was only on the agenda as a discussion item, no action was taken.

The next regular board meeting will be on July 14.

Carol Anders Correspondent

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