Board ratifies contract with licensed staff

Sean C. Morgan

The District 55 School Board ratified a two-year contract with district teachers and licensed staff Monday evening in a special meeting.

The existing contract expires on June 30.

The contract includes a 0-percent adjustment to the salary schedule for 2012-13 and a 1-percent adjustment in 2013-14. Eligible licensed staff will receive a step increase, which can range between 2 and 6 percent effective on Feb. 28. Eligible staff will receive a step increase on July 1, 2013, the beginning of the second year. Teachers have a maximum of 18 steps.

The district’s contribution toward insurance premiums will increase from $880 to $900 per month in 2012-13 and $930 the second year.

Insurance premiums range from $1,063 per month to $1,471 per month this year. Business Manager Kevin Strong said they will increase 8 to 9 percent next school year, 2012-13.

The contract included compensation and contract language.

Among changes, the district will continue to pay contributions to a tax-deferred savings program for existing employees to pay for early retirement, but it will discontinue paying the contribution for new employees after July 1.

Among other changes:

n The superintendent or a representative will be available to meet with the association president every other month of the school year to discuss and resolve non-grievance issues or problems of mutual concern.

n Employees will have the right to have a representative in any meeting that he or she reasonably believes may lead to disciplinary action.

n Adjustments to reflect a four-day school week. Teachers will have preparatory time and professional development time on Fridays. Prep time schedules also were adjusted, and in each building, licensed staff members will have the same number of non-student contact days.

In other business, the board opened discussions with Supt. Don Schrader about his contract for 2012-13.

He outlined three scenarios involving a percentage increase based on the average of step increases for teachers in combination with fewer contract days.

Schrader currently is paid $102,165 per year. The average of step increases would give him 3-increases in each of the next two years, increasing his salary to $105,229 and then to $108,386. Schrader noted that based on his 260-day schedule, he is making less hourly than the high school principal, who works 222 days.

“I’m OK with what it is now,” Schrader told the board. “I know what the climate is now.”

If the board asked him to take a freeze, he said he want to reduce his contract days and look at an increase in the second year.

Chairman Jason Redick said that this proposal is less than the assistant superintendent makes in Lebanon, between $112,000 and $114,000; and Schrader has more responsibilities than an assistant.

“Personally, I think that’s a great deal for the district, and I would support this,” Redick said, noting that it is in line with what teachers will receive, counting their steps.

Board member Chanz Keeney was reluctant to approve anything Monday and wanted to take some time to think about it in light of ratifying a contract with teachers on Monday.

The board will consider the superintendent’s salary at its next regular meeting, July 9.

Present at the meeting were Keeney, Dale Keene, Redick, Mike Reynolds, Jenny Daniels, David VanDerlip and Kevin Burger. Billie Weber and Mike E. Adams were absent.