District proposes no base increase

School Board
Pete Temple
Express Associate Editor

     An initial proposal that includes no increase to the base salary was proposed by the Monticello Community School District at the Monticello School Board work session Wednesday, Feb. 8.

     The proposal, presented by Superintendent Brian Jaeger, also contained several areas in which contract language was cleaned up and brought up to date.

     Jaeger said the proposal reflected the uncertainty brought about by the Iowa State Legislature’s bill – passed Feb. 6 by the House – to increase state supplemental education funding by 1.1 percent; combined with the fact the district has 24 fewer students this year than last.

     Jaeger also said the items proposed are “starting points.”

     He added: “I know there is anxiety out there.”

     Monticello Education Association (MEA) chief negotiator Shannon Guyer was on hand, and asked Jaeger about how a proposed state law regarding collective bargaining might change negotiations as they pertain to benefits.

     “If the law changes, and it says that it is not permissible to discuss benefits or insurance specifically, then we wouldn’t be able to discuss it,” Jaeger said.

     “My understanding of what the law is proposing is that it would be the school district that would decide what the insurance piece would look like after that point, and it wouldn’t be negotiated the way it has in the past.”

     Also at the meeting, Jaeger made a presentation about the Iowa School Report Card, a system developed in 2013 by the Iowa Department of Education.

     The system rates school districts in several categories, including proficiency, closing achievement gaps, college and career ready growth, attendance, staff retention and more.

     Ratings at Carpenter jumped up two levels from two years ago, from Acceptable to High-Performing. The middle school and high schools remained at the Acceptable level. Shannon falls into the “unable to rate” category because the students there are too young.

     Wednesday’s meeting also included the first look at a proposed 2017-18 school calendar. The calendar called for classes to begin Aug. 23, and for Commencement to take place Sunday, May 27, 2018.

     Under the calendar, which has not yet been approved, the middle school would move from trimesters to semesters. Open house times on Aug. 21 would be staggered, and 2 p.m. dismissals would be in effect on elementary parent-teacher conference days.

     Board members Peg Mere and Dave Melchert questioned the proposed 1 p.m. dismissals on Dec. 21 (the Thursday before the holiday break) and on May 29 (last day of classes for non-seniors).

     The board then met in exempt session for a strategy session.


Subscriber Login