Pay-lane changes, substitute pay, approving budget highlight board of education meeting

The Haakon School District 27-1 Board of Education held its first monthly meeting on Monday, September 15, with its new Business Manager, Britni Ross.

The board officially approved Ross's contract, as well as pay-lane changes for three instructors. Both Jerry Rhodes and Jayne Gottsleben rose from a Bachelor of Science plus 12 to a BA+24 category, and Melanie Morehart rose from a Masters to a MA+15. Each will receive about $500 in pay raise. Board member Anita Peterson commented, "That doesn't even pay for the university credits."

Pay for substitute teachers was discussed. Board member Matt Reedy said, "I feel that we have some super substitutes, and that their pay should be in-line with any raising of teachers' base pay. I'd just as soon keep the good subs that we have." Currently, the district's daily pay for substitutes ranges from $55 to $65, depending on their academic degrees and certifications. Last year, approximately $6,200 was used for elementary substitute pay out of a projected budget of $10,000. A $10 raise per day was suggested.

The subject of substitute pay was tabled until the next board meeting, so a legality question can be investigated. "If substitute pay is part of a negotiated agreement, then there is nothing we can do," said board member Kelly Blair.

The 2008-2009 budget has been approved. "Basically, we didn't use any reserves this year," said Superintendent Keven Morehart. With salary increases being somewhat balanced by Title funding, "it was a wash, but, most likely, we will use some reserves next year," said Morehart. That conservative future estimate of reserve spending is around $8,000. Blair said, "A balanced budget for this year, that is pretty awesome compared with eight to 10 years ago."

Individual open enrollment and home schooling requests were approved by the board. A first reading was held on the district's homelessness policy. Any homeless children coming into the district would receive immediate school enrollment. "The policy is the same thing that we provide to every student in our district now," said board president Bill Slovek. Currently, there are no homeless students attending grades in the Haakon School District.

The board held a short executive session, with no action taken afterward.

First quarter grade checks will be September 22. Parent Teacher Conferences will be held on September 30 and October 1 from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. High school and junior high school instructors will be in the Fine Arts Building.

The administration is in the first steps of applying for a PEP grant, such as the Wall School District used to remodel a physical education "power house" weight room and gymnasium. As part of the application, High School Principal Jeff Rieckman plans to stress, "We have one of the best physical curriculum instructors in the state."

Morehart reported that the new wireless laptop computers are in and are being set up for use.

The next board meeting will be the one annually held at a distance learning center. The Cheyenne School will host the Monday, October 20, meeting to start at 7:00 p.m. The following meeting on November 17 will start at 6:00 p.m.