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June 2, 2020

5/22/2020 1:25:00 PM
Highland School Board approves end-of-year purchases, intent to employ contracts
With a lengthy agenda, the Highland Board of Education got down to business on Wednesday, My 13. The school district is projected to have a budget surplus of $170,969.03 due to expenses not being spent due to COVID-19, closing the building early. With this extra money, the board approved some additional projects: pre-order salt ($3,500), bleacher ADA steps ($9,730), backstop safety straps ($2,875), technology improvements ($19,106), pave elementary parking lot ($15,683), LED lighting ($10,368), tuck pointing ($14,650), dedicated power line (($4,247.39), ticket booth ($1,000), ADA walk paving ($10,780.10), and caulking windows ($6,800). This comes to $98,739.49. "We need to protect as much state aid coming in next year as possible," explained Highland District Administrator Nancy Hendrickson. If you don't spend it, you lose it. One item that was on this list - Hudl/Eye in the Sky - was tabled until the June meeting. The cost was $3,000 for an annual license, and the company would work with schools if fall sports don't happen - they are providing a discount on the next year. This item was tabled as the board wants more information about the product and how it'd be used.
Contract renewals and issuance of intent to employ was passed. The teachers' contracts are all for current ones - there were no additions and no retirements. All teachers will be moving to the next lane change for a raise. Extra-curricular assignments for the upcoming year were looked at and approved. Language was added to these contracts that if the sport doesn't happen or the season is cut short, the coach's salary will be pro-rated. The only change staff-wise was the addition of a few new volunteer coaches. The supplemental contracts were also passed. Support staff will be receiving a $0.35/hour raise for a total increase of around 2.35% as it includes a cost of living increase. Administration and administrative support staff will receive an increase of $0.35/hour or 2% if salaried.
A first reading of a new policy regarding employee compensation - unexpected and extraordinary circumstances was approved. This is a new addition based on the CARES Act saying that special education staff can be reassigned to other parts of the school to help as needed such as with meals or cleaning.
On a related note, from Hendrickson, she explained that "Josh (Tarrell), Linda (Hebgen), Brad (Tucker), Mike (Aide), and Barb (Hying) were declared to be essential employees at the start of this COVID-19 pandemic and were asked to work through the early closure days in order to plan and prepare for distance learning, remote meals, health and safety issues, etc. All other support staff were awarded ten days of paid administrative leave during the time between the school closure and the start of our distance learning program. In recognition of this work expectation and the likelihood that these staff members may not be able to use the vacation days available to them, I recommend that these individuals receive their daily per diem for up to 10 days of unused vacation..." This was approved. Additionally, Hendrickson was named an essential employee and has been working full-time since March 10. If she is able to go back to part-time in June, she'll be 40 days over her contract. Hendrickson asked the board for some compensation for her time: keeping her computer/printer, extending her dental insurance for five more years, and adding $4,000 to her salary. The finance committee agreed that she should be compensated for her time, but didn't want to take any encumbrances into the future. They proposed, and the full board of education approved, allowing Hendrickson to keep her computer/printer and an additional salary of $11,850.
The board passed a request for additional PDP flexibility. "Highland has a need for someone on staff to be licensed as a reading teacher and a library media specialist. These licensure programs can requite 12-18 more additional graduate credits at a cost of approximately $8,700 to $10,400," Hendrickson said. These licenses are unable to be granted under newer, flexible guidelines that do not require additional coursework. The school will work with the person taking the courses, and they will work under a three-year provisional license. The district agrees to reimburse tuition for a successful course completion up to $7,650. Moreover if the district requires a teacher to earn a special education license, the teacher may receive support either by paying for the coursework themselves and getting a lane change after completion or the district pays for the coursework and the teacher doesn't move on the salary lane.
Changes were made and approved to summer school for this year. There will be no fitness program, no music lessons, and no summer musical. Ideas include having a Zoom story hour with kids and sessions of virtual classes on June. More information will be coming to the forefront soon.
In other business:
• The board was reorganized for this year with everyone retaining their positions and committee assignments: Mike Dreischmeier, President; Ken Esser, Vice-President; Andrea Benish, Clerk; and Todd Michek, Treasurer. Katrina Shemak will be the board's CESA #3 delegate and WASB delegate.
• CollegeUp applications were approved.
• A hold was put on foreign exchange programs for the foreseeable future.
• SWEEP 1 and 2 agreements were passed. These allow for bulk purchasing of items and the use of large equipment by the member schools.
• Minutes from the April regular meeting were passed.
• The current expenses and vouchers payable were approved.
The next regular board meeting will be Wednesday, June 10 at 6 p.m.

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