A request by the Newburg R-II School District superintendent to raise the stipend for the district’s special education coordinator was tabled during Thursday night’s school board meeting.
The request came while the board was considering salary schedules for the 2013-14 school year.
Superintendent John Westerman made the request to increase the stipend, which was one of two proposed changes to the district’s certificated salary schedule for next school year.
The other change, which was to establish a retired teacher hourly pay scale, proposed to make the hourly rate $30.
The board adopted the certificated salary schedule with the retired teacher hourly pay scale by a vote of 5-0. Board members Glenn Suschanke, Jr. and Carol Fletcher were absent.
However, the board tabled Westerman’s request for the stipend, which proposes a $5,000 increase and would raise the total stipend to $10,000.
“We’re getting a bargain (with what we have) and we’d still be getting a bargain (with the new stipend),” the superintendent said.
However, Jim Macormic, board president, said, “$5,000 is a big jump ... as in double.”
Newburg Elementary School Principal Russ Mudd currently serves as the special education coordinator and said he stays after school and works at least one afternoon a weekend performing the coordinator’s responsibilities.
Clay Austin, board vice president, said he sees Mudd working at the school extra hours, “but Jim (Macormic) makes a good point, too. It is double.”
Board Treasurer Kent Burke recommended tabling the issue until all board members could be present.
In other news, the board adopted the classified salary schedule for 2013-14 with no changes in the rates from fiscal year 2013.
Westerman said while the schedules list at which step teachers and employees are currently, the actual amount of the step increases will not be decided until the budget for next school year is set.
Also at the meeting, the board approved other extra duty/stipend position assignments and a stipend schedule not related to the stipend for the special education coordinator.
Additionally, board members approved a list of classified employees to be granted letters of intent. Board member Matt Brookshire had to abstain from voting on three of the employees because he is related to them.
The board also approved filling a kindergarten teacher position that will become vacant at the end of this school year with Amanda Brookshire. Matt Brookshire abstained from this vote because he is related to Amanda.
The board also approved filling a first grade teacher position next year with Katie Bramel Jones.
Newburg High School Principal Steve Guffey recommended a junior high science position be filled with a student teacher, but a decision on a specific individual would be made later in the year.
In other discussion at Thursday’s school board meeting, Westerman notified the board of some issues with the construction project which started last year at the school.
He said a roof over the concession stand is continuing to leak, there are cracks in the concrete, the heating/cooling system is not working properly and there are bubbles forming on the floor in the kitchen area where students are being served meals. Westerman said he would like to hold a meeting with the board, general contractor and architect on the problems.
The more recent construction work on a new roof on the south high school two-story exits and ramps and the annex building walkway is going well, Westerman reported. Wooden posts holding up sections of the roof will be replaced with steel posts, he said.
Kean Brothers Co., of Newburg, was awarded the roof and walkway project on a bid of $25,600. This project was mentioned in the ballot language for the school bond approved by voters in 2011.
Also at the meeting, Westerman informed the board that an individual is interested in selling property near the north end of the school campus north of the roundabout. Guffey said the property would be “a nice investment.”
Westerman also was directed by the board to research a grant program that could provide funds for early childhood care infrastructure, curriculum and equipment. Westerman said the grant application would have to go through a non-profit group.
The school board also heard from Mudd on the district’s early childhood education program. Mudd recommended having one morning class for the 3-year-old group and a morning and an afternoon class for the 4-year-old group.
“I don’t think we cannot not afford it,” said Austin about adding a second class for the 4-year-old group.
Westerman said by offering the early childhood program to youth, it changes the dynamics of what Newburg teachers can do once those students enter kindergarten. He said the program lays out groundwork that the teachers would not otherwise have.