|Two-year contract outlining teacher salaries approved|
By Jan Schultz
The Imperial Republican
Teachers at Chase County Schools will see base pay increases for the next two years of $800 each year.
For the 2009-10 school year, teachers will earn a $29,600 base pay, up from the past year’s $28,782 base.
For the 2010-11 school year, the base pay will increase another $800 to $30,400.
School board members approved the salary increases at the June 9 board meeting, which came after a closed session when negotiations and personnel were discussed.
The approved negotiated agreement with the Imperial Education Association (IEA) also includes an increase in accumulated sick days an employee can maintain, and some slight health insurance changes.
The board allowed an increase from 40 to 45 accumulated sick days. Each employee receives 10 paid sick days per year, but they cannot accumulate more than 45.
Supt. Matt Fisher said, as part of the negotiation process, the IEA had requested creating a “shared bank” of sick days, from which an employee could offer to a fellow employee will they experience extended leave due to illness.
In the end, Supt. Fisher said the school board approved adding five additional days each year, but not the “shared bank” of sick days.
The employees’ health insurance deductible were increase from $550 to $600. The school district pays $250 toward the deductible, which does not change from the previous year.
After the deductible is met by an employee, there is some additional co-insurance paid by the employee up to a specified maximum.
The school’s health insurance policy is through Blue Cross/Blue Shield.
More aides to be hired
With next year’s use of the Reading Mastery Program and direct instruction method, the administration foresees the needs for additional aides for the program.
Some additional aide time will be gained with the addition of a new high needs special education program this fall, but even with that, more aides will be needed, said Supt. Fisher.
There are two aides working strictly in the instructional areas now, with the majority working with the special ed. students.
But, to keep the Reading Mastery groups smaller, three new aides will be needed, based on the discussion at last week’s meeting.
Board President Sheila Stromberger said the school has already committed a lot of money to the Reading Mastery Program, and felt the additional costs of three aides was a minute amount but could make a big impact on the success of the program.
Cost of one aide will range between $9,000 and $20,000, Supt. Fisher said, with the difference being whether they opt for the health insurance or not.
Supt. Fisher noted the school will receive an additional $42,000 in Title I funding next year, which could be used to supplement costs of the new reading program.
Board member Dirk Haarberg asked if the administration has considered use of volunteers to help out with the Reading Mastery Program. Formation of a Parent/Teacher Association (PTA) might also be considered, he said.
Fisher said they have considered volunteers, but a volunteer can always choose not to come on any given day.
Board member Penny Strand also felt using different people to work with students, through a volunteer system, would not be as effective.
Angie Dickey, who taught second grade the past year, will assume the Title I position held by Jane Lenners last year, and will also serve as the “Reading Coach” for the new Reading Mastery Program.