Archive for Thursday, March 17, 2005

Agreement finally made

March 17, 2005

Next year's budget and accepting the teacher's negotiation settlement were among the many topics discussed at Monday's Baldwin School Board meeting.

After the board went into executive session, they came out and accepted the teacher's settlement with a 7-0 vote. The settlement included a $600 raise to the base salary and the early retirement plan. The raise is retroactive for the entire year that the teachers have been without a contract.

"We had hoped to get it accomplished, but we've had a much longer time negotiating," School Board President Ed Schulte said. "Payments for that will be retroactive for the all district staff."

Once again next year's budget was discussed at the meeting. Supt. James White came out with proposal that would take care of the $294,360 deficit for next year.

"Its a scenario of what we would have to do personnel wise, if we had to make up the $300,000," White said.

His proposal was a worst-case scenario, he said, as in if the district was to receive no additional funding for next year. This would mean the district would have to compensate for the $294,360 next year because of the loss of the weighting factor gained from building Baldwin Elementary School Intermediate Center.

The scenario included giving the activities director duties to a Baldwin High School administrator, not replacing the BHS counselor and replacing the BHS math teacher with an in-district transfer. Resignations were accepted recently from the three people who currently have those positions.

The other three parts to the plan were to cut one elementary school teacher, cut the curriculum director position and one nursing position. All six of these adjustments would save the district $305,489 next year.

"All of those are takeaways from services we can offer, as Mr. White said," Schulte said.

White said if the district has an increase of 20 students next year, it would only be $142,158 short.

"We're looking at hopefully a 15 to 20 student increase," White said.

After hearing these numbers, Board member Scott Lauridsen was worried about how these personnel cuts might affect the schools.

"I want to hear from the high school about how these will affect them," Lauridsen. "We need to hear from the people in the front line."

Board member Ande Parks said he is still not sure they have heard from enough people in the district.

"I'm not sure we communicate with our community enough, not just about the budget," Parks said. "I don't know what we can do, but I feel like we need to reach them."

At the meeting, the board also voted to extend White's contract for one year with a 6-1 vote. Lauridsen was the lone dissenting vote.

There were two hirings approved at the meeting. John Quade was hired as an assistant baseball coach at BHS and Bobbi Van Horn was hired as the communications/bookkeeper at the District Office.

The board also approved the calendar for next year. White said the calendar is similar to this year with a couple slight changes.

"It's very similar to last year," White said. "We just changed most of the collaboration days from a Wednesday to a Monday, trying to fit requests of some of the teachers."

The administrators for the buildings each talked about how their state assessments are going so far, despite limited number of computers.

Curriculum Director Connie Wehmeyer also discussed the idea of the board purchasing new math books for the elementary schools. The board decided to review the book and vote on it next meeting.

Wehmeyer said that patrons are encouraged to examine the textbooks and materials at the District Office in the next 30 days. She said that comments and questions may be sent to her at the District Office.

Lauridsen also brought up the topic of girls basketball uniforms at BHS. But the board decided to get more information on the uniform rotation for next meeting.

The board will bring in the Kansas Association of School Boards to present an update on the Kansas Legislature's school funding plans at 7 p.m. on March 28 at the District Office. The presentation will be discussing next year's budget and the legislature's actions.

The next school board meeting will be at 7 p.m. on April 11 at Vinland Elementary School.

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