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Paynesville Press - November 30, 2005

School board covers light agenda

By Michael Jacobson

The Paynesville Area School Board took the following actions at their meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 22.

*The board discussed educational issues with Sen. Michelle Fischbach (R-Paynesville) and Rep. Larry Hosch (DFL-St. Joseph) for a half hour.

Topics included last session's increase in education funding (four percent for 2005-06 and four percent for 2006-07); the state's financial footing and the likelihood of budget adjustments during next year's session; the possibility of emergency funding for fuel costs; statewide insurance; and Q Comp, the proposed compensation for teachers based on performance. Story

*The board approved a new two-year contract for building and grounds supervisor Donnie Mayer. The contract calls for a six percent increase in 2005-06 and a five percent increase in 2006-07.

This is higher than the teacher's settlement - 8.25 percent - for two reasons. First, Mayer settled two years ago before the district's insurance contribution for teachers was raised, and his old contract left his insurance contribution at $4,200. Bringing that contribution to the new district standard of $4,800 represents a larger percentage increase. Second, Mayer was hired without certification but has now completed a number of certifications that the district needs.

*The board approved a long-term substitute teaching contract for Jessica Kerzman, from mid-November through the Christmas break, to fill in for Pam Pfeifer in Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE).

*The board approved adding a paraprofessional for three hours in ECSE to assist a student with special needs.

*The board approved a staff development grant for inclusionary teaching in the math and reading/ English classrooms in the amount of $737. Five staff will attend a conference on inclusionary teaching ($1,035, including travel) and then have two half days ($440 for substitutes) for team planning. The West Central Education District has agreed to pay for half this cost, leaving the district's share at $737.

*The board approved an assignment for Amber Michaelis as the ninth grade girls' basketball coach for the winter season of 2005-06.

*The board approved senior lists for both custodial employees and food service employees.

*The board reviewed a draft policy for out of state travel by school board members. The proposed policy, expected to be adopted in December as it is mandatory, requires that travel out of state, for board business and with reimbursement by the school district, should be pre-approved by the board.

*The board approved raising its health care contribution for non-teaching staff for 2005-06 and 2006-07 to $4,800 for full-time employees or a prorated share for part-time employees. These amounts were included in the recently approved two-year teaching contract, which is used as a guide for other contracts. All the contracts have not been finalized - though a tentative agreement has been reached with the food service staff, said superintendent Todd Burlingame - and the district office needs to enter $4,800 in order to update its budget.

*The board approved rejoining the Stearns County Family Services Collaborative for the calendar year of 2006.

*The board reviewed its meeting schedule for December. Due to the Christmas holiday, the board will meet on the first and third Tuesdays instead of its usual second and fourth. On Tuesday, Dec. 6, the board will hold a truth-in-taxation hearing at 7 p.m. and its meeting at 8 p.m. On Tuesday, Dec. 20, the board will meet at 2 p.m.

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