Board resolves calendar issue



March 28, 2013 - 12:00 AM

USD 257 board members were able to knock out a looming concern at Wednesday night’s special meeting. To make up days lost to snow board members decided May 16 would be a regular school day for students, teachers and staff.
May 17 will be a workday for teachers only. For classified staff the remaining missing days will be forgiven.
The decision will require students to attend school one additional day. Originally May 15 was to be the last day of school.
The special meeting was followed by the second interest-based bargaining (IBB) negotiations session, in which a mediator helps board members and teachers agree on following year’s items, such as the calendar.
Because the snow days created such conflict this year the board asked teachers if they would be willing to change next year’s allotted snow day from May 16 to April 18, Good Friday.
Since the last IBB negotiations session in February teachers completed a survey on what they’d like to see used the following year. The results came back favoring the calendar identical to this past year, but only by a small margin.
The team tentatively agreed to the calendar and with t he April 18 snow day.
Another topic was changes to the teacher incentive plans.
Iola High School principal Stacey Fager shared his experiences of being at a teacher at Circle High School in Towanda for 14 years. If Towanda teachers didn’t use their allotted two personal days they could carry the days over into next year. If they still chose not to use those personal days they could cash them in and receive substitute’s pay for the four days.
There also was wellness pay for teachers who didn’t use sick days. Rationale was the school district wouldn’t be losing any money because it is money substitutes would be paid.
“We want the teachers in front of the students,” board president Tony Leavitt said.
The team decided to do more research and no agreement was made.
Next year’s salary, health insurance and summer compensation discussions will be at the next meeting, May 29, because there wasn’t enough information to come to a consensus.

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