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Herington Schools USD 487

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IBB minutes May 11, 2015







May 11, 2015


Ben Meyer called to order the special meeting of the Board of Education of U.S.D. 487 at 5:00 p.m., May 11, 2015.  Present: Anna Gustafson, Amy Thibodeau, Bret Beye, Deb Geissert, Patty Kahle, Barb Kurtenbach, John Doern, Superintendent John Thissen and Clerk of the Board Robyn Heitfield.  Megan Mein joined at 5:10 p.m.  Absent:  Jeanne’ Schantz, Stacey Berndt, Katharina Mascareno and Leah Roth.


1.         ADOPT AGENDA                                                                                                               Bret Beye moved (Thibodeau) to adopt the agenda.  Motion carried 4-0.                                 

2.         IBB MEETING

            The IBB group delayed the meeting until May with the hope resolutions would be made in Topeka regarding school funding.  The panel of three judges met on May 7th and 8th to discuss the underfunding lawsuit but made no ruling.  Currently, the state is still anticipating block grant funding for the 2015-16 and 2016-17 school years, even though some maintain a strong feeling this could change.  The majority of school districts have not begun negotiations. 

            With the resignation of middle school health/PE teacher, Leah Hamlin, Mr. Thissen informed members of his intention not to fill the position.  Schedules will be arranged so Gregg Hackerott can cover all middle and high school classes with the exception of one middle school period.  He then showed the committee the financial outlook for the 2015-16 school year:


Savings/Addt’l resources                    Additional Cost

>MS health/pe             $37,000*         >Insurance (4% increase)                    $14,000*

>Transfer less              $50,000           >Salaries (1.2% avg)                           $24,000*

>LOB                        $100,000**       >Special Ed assessment increase        $20,000*

>Contingency fund     $29,000           >TEEN assessment                             $  8,000*

                                                            >Block grant (over 2 years)             $150,000

        Total savings   $216,000                                Total cost                     $216,000

                                                *know for sure


**Of the 285 districts in the state, twenty seven are using less than 30% on the LOB for year 2014-15.  Twenty-five districts are at the 33% max while the majority are at 30%.  Herington used 28.5% for the 2014-15 school year so additional revenue can be generated by raising the LOB mill levy.





The group began discussing issues:


    5.  Sick Leave


  • Allows teacher to be in classroom as much as possible
  • More convenient to teachers
  • Shortage of available subs
  • Misuse of time
  • Money
  • Timing and scheduling
  • Increments
  • Management at the board office
  • Approval and finding subs


            1.  Status quo

            2.  Allow quarter days with in-house coverage

            3.  Allow hourly sick leave with in-house coverage-five per year per contract


            WORK            AFFORD/COST         RATIFY                 COMMENTS

1.             Y                             Y                           Y                     

2.             Y                             Y                           Y        Less cost/pilot program(chosen)

3.             Y                             ?                            Y               Doesn’t change cost


A clause will be inserted in the Negotiated Agreement as an attachment memorandum “Pilot Program”.  Mr. Thissen will organize the procedure.


3.         ADJOURNMENT   

Ben Meyer had to leave the meeting at 6:20 p.m.  At this time the meeting was adjourned.


Regular discussion began.


    8.  Differential Contracts (this issue has two parts)

     1st part of issue      

Elementary music and PE are collaborating for the winter and spring concerts.  While the music teacher receives differential pay on his/her contract, the PE teacher, in general receives extra duty pay.  But there is nothing in the Negotiated Agreement that states what hourly rate is to be paid for these type of assignments.  The following wording will be inserted to page 3 of the Negotiated Agreement:

  • Administrative assignments (depending on the assignment)   $7.50hr or $13.50/hr

     2nd part of issue

Is the differential contract for the 6-12 vocal position at the current rate of 7% a justified amount based on activities/contests outside the duty day:

  • Graduation
  • Baccalaureate
  • Winter concert
  • 8th grade recognition
  • Regional competition
  • State competition

Consensus by the group is to lower the rate to 5%.  This decision was based on the logic of the situation as well as factual information.  At 5%, this position will still be the highest per hour rate of supplementals.


    7.  Teacher Evaluation

            An in service will be provided to teachers each year to help with this issue.


    6.  Due Process

            There is still a lot of fear across the state that many firings existed due to legislature removing the due process law.  If districts continue to be forced to cut spending, lower salaried teachers could be kept on while the higher paid will be let go to assist in district savings.   Discussion began regarding McRel and the evaluation process.  Mr. Thissen assured the group the process can take as many as 2 to 3 years.  Administration will work with the individual to help with improvement inst3ead of just “getting rid” of the teacher.  There is time and processes within the program to help the individual to improve so if a lawsuit does happen, a district has legit cause for dismissal.  There are three ways of dismissal:

  1. RIF
  2. Insubordination
  3. Performance which involves the evaluation process

There should be a comfort level within our district since last year’s insertion in the Negotiated Agreement of utilizing a mediator in this type of situation.  This is someone not tied to the district that does not take a stance.  Arbitrator decisions could be binding and may overturn a board’s decision.   The process has steps that must be taken before it gets to dismissal.


    9.  Extended Contract

            Original discussion on this issue is to revisit the FFA contract.  But how can the group look at FFA without taking into consideration the other clubs of HOSA, FCCLA and FBLA?  These clubs have worked together all year long instead of one club sponsor doing all the work.  Supplemental contracts for these four groups are currently at 3%.  Ag receives an additional 10-day extended contract.  With the creation of the community garden this spring, a full year of documentation will not be received from the FFA/Ag sponsor until a complete summer has passed.  Consensus by the group however was to give five additional days to the Ag extended contract at a yearly estimated cost of $900.  These days, the group felt, are warranted and justifiable due to the community garden as well as fair projects.  Documentation is still being requested from the sponsor.

            The other topic of discussion was the counselors’ extended contracts.  Both have an eighteen day extension.  Since the number of district counselors dropped from three to two, is eighteen days enough for both?  Mr. Thissen is meeting with them this week to discuss this topic but has had no indication from either that it is not working.  He recommends not changing anything.  The group agreed. 




     2.  Insurance

            Currently the board pays 100% of the premium on a single $1500 deductible health insurance plan.  They also pay 100% of a single dental plan.  Health insurance is increasing by 4% for the 2015-16 school year.  Figures for dental are not in yet.  Consensus by the group is to continue with this benefit as is.   


The next meeting is scheduled for June 11, 2015 at 5:00 p.m.                          


The meeting concluded at 7:40 p.m.    




Robyn Heitfield, Clerk of Board of Education


Attest: ____________________________________

            Ben Meyer, President


Date:  _____________________________________