The Chewelah School Board of Directors ratified the Chewelah Education Association (CEA) contract at the June 20 regular meeting to include one LID (Learning Improvement Day) and two additional allocation (personal) days. The CEA is the union for certified staff.
During the previous year, certified staff members were given one and a half LID days and two allocation days to make up for the 1.9 percent reduction in state pay announced in 2011. This year they will receive a half LID day less based on what the district can afford.
The CEA negotiations team had also originally asked the district to base involuntary staff transfers on seniority, however that was taken off the table because Superintendent Rick Linehan said that the district needs to remain flexible as they work to consolidate to two buildings in 2013-2014.
At the June meeting, Linehan asked the school board to allow him to receive the same benefits for LID and allocation days as the certified staff since principals are also included in the CEA union negotiations.
Additionally, Linehan requested the board to revise his contract to remove the statement “can be terminated with no cause whatsoever.” The school board members felt that was a reasonable request but will have the district lawyer review the revised contract before approval.
Construction Services Group (CSG) will be conducting a phone survey for the school district in the next two weeks to determine a non-biased consensus regarding the consolidation to two buildings. Linehan said students from Washington State University will call different people of various demographics within the district to ask questions such as whether they support a K-8 building at Gess Elementary or a 7-12 building at Jenkins High School. This survey is part of CSG pre-bond services and is free to the district until a bond is passed. Paper surveys will also be made available at the District Office for anyone to complete.
Thirty-four million dollars in competitive energy efficiency grants are available through OSPI (Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction). The first round of applications are due in November. However, districts must have an investment grade energy audit to be eligible.
Jayson Schmidt of McKinstry, a full-service design, build, operate and maintain (DBOM) firm, proposed that the board hire his company to execute the energy audit. Schmidt said with their services they guarantee a certain amount of energy savings and verify that number once the project is complete. Since there is a cost for the audit, he said even if they do not end up qualifying for the available grants, it will be valuable in other ways like when planning for the capital bond, emergencies, or future projects. The board took no action on whether to hire McKinstry because they said it was too soon to make a commitment.
Linehan said they would go after an energy efficiency grant to make improvements on the building not being considered for a bond such as repairing the air conditioning system at Gess Elementary if the JHS building is to be renovated.
The school board approved a revision to the 2012-13 Jenkins High School Student Handbook to have a closed campus during lunch for ninth grade students. Previously, there was an open campus at lunch for all high school students. Linehan said the upcoming ninth graders will already be used to a closed campus and it will be an easier transition if the middle school students move to the high school building eventually. Kim Hogan suggested the change with a letter to the school board.
Principal Matt McLain presented the annual report for Chewelah Alternative and HomeLink programs. He said although they are no longer open on Mondays, the room at the District Office is busier than it has ever been. The computers were logged in 1,770 times in 2011-2012 versus 729 times in 2010-2011.
McLain thanked Linehan for his support to get elected as the Region 5 Representative for WALA (Washington Association for Learning Alternatives).
The alternative programs have outgrown their space at the District Office and will be moving to the Jenkins Middle School library building for the next school year.
The JMS library will then move to Geno Ludwig’s former classroom, as he will be teaching full-time at the high school. Other JMS teachers have also received new teaching assignments for next school year to accommodate the sixth grade remaining at Gess.
Regarding more changes at the middle school, JMS classes will be starting 10 minutes earlier in the morning and ending ten minutes earlier beginning fall of 2012 to alleviate safety issues with the buses crossing Highway 395 and causing traffic jams.
The school board had the first reading of the high school graduation requirements policy and procedures, which have been revised to remain consistent with state requirements.
The school board approved the principal contracts for Hogan, Pugh, and Jon Symonds and the assistant principal/athletic director contract for Lonnie Hoxie.
They also approved to post for three paradeducators, three high school students, and bus drivers for the 2012-2013 Gess Elementary after school program.
Additionally, four summer laborers were hired and bus driver Florence Stromenger resigned.
The board also hired JHS, JMS and Gess Elementary summer school teachers and paraeducators along with summer school bus drivers and summer school Gess Elementary staff assistants. Matt McLain was hired as the alternative program summer school teacher.
Symonds and Pugh said they will complete the summer school programs before July 4, when attendance drops significantly.
The policy for maintaining professional staff/student boundaries was approved noting that the procedure will be created later. This policy is new to the district.
The board approved many changes to the policy and procedure for proper use of electronic resources at Chewelah School Distirct. The policy and procedure was originally adopted in August 2000.
By Kellie Trudeau, The Independent Staff