Chesterton Tribune

 

 

School Board approves pay hikes for non-teachers

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By JEFF SCHULTZ

Three months after ratifying a new one-year contract with the Duneland Teachers Association (DTA) that gave raises to teachers for the first time in seven years, the Duneland School Board on Thursday voted 5-0 to raise pay for classified staff. Duneland Schools Superintendent David Pruis said administrators evaluated pay ranges for staff members who do not require a teaching license such as secretaries, custodians, bus drivers, food service workers, etc., and felt they were “outdated.”

Pruis proposed boosting compensation to those 250 or so employees as was done with the teachers’ contract. Administrators looked to make sure the adjustments would be sustainable, he said. Money is available in the corporation’s general and referendum funds, as well as food service, transportation and capital project funds.

The base increase or one-time stipends would run from $750 to $3,000, based on the number of work days and classifications, Pruis said.

Before the vote, DTA co-president Michele Bartels read a statement during the Patron Participation portion of the meeting supporting the pay raises.

“I know how difficult it was for some of us when there was no pay raise and I know some other people have also experienced hardships for not having pay raises so I just wanted to encourage our board with respect to the Duneland family to think about (them) also,” Bartels said.

Performance stipends

Duneland teachers rated effective or highly effective will see an extra dollar figure on their Jan. 20 pay check, a “performance award.”

Duneland was one of the school districts in Indiana to receive part of the $14.18 million performance grant distributed by the Indiana Department of Education to schools this year, about half of what it was last year. The grant awards teachers based on passing rates for standardized tests and graduation rates for the 2015-16 school year.

The school board voted 5-0 to accept the plan for the bonus funds to be disbursed to teachers.

Following that, Pruis asked the board if they would consider rewarding school building administrators since they too “had a role in helping our teachers do what they do in the classroom every day” by awarding them with stipends similar to what the teachers receive. It has been something that neighboring school districts have done in the past, he added.

Board President Kristin Kroeger and member Mike Trout said they agreed with Pruis’ recommendation. The board voted 5-0 to pay extra funds to administrators, using available funds in Duneland’s budget.

The board also unanimously approved renewing contracts for administrators that were expiring after a two-year term.

2017 facility projects

In other business, the board approved three bids for facility projects recommended by Director of Support Services Greg Lindy.

Gluth Brothers Roofing was the lowest bid submitted for the roof repair project at Westchester Intermediate School at $117,565.

Seven Generations Construction’s bid for HVAC updates and new classroom doors at Yost Elementary was approved. Board member Brandon Kroft abstained from voting on approval.

Gough Inc. submitted a bid of $96,367 for reconfiguring the sewer system at the Special Services Center. The corporation will hook into the town’s sewer utility.

Board Attorney Chuck Parkinson said there will need to be a petition for annexation to be filed with the Town of Chesterton in order for the schools to receive sewer service. The school board approved 5-0 to file the petition.

Lindy said crews are wrapping up the bathroom renovation project at WIS and the fire alarm system at the Special Services Center.

Marquis signs will be replaced at four Duneland schools.

Lindy said he is also talking to engineers about the project of redesigning the air ventilation system at CHS. Maintenance staff is planning more work on areas of the CHS parking lot and it is likely a seal coating will be needed, Lindy said.

CMS presentation

The board was treated to a presentation made by Chesterton Middle School on its CANVAS system that helps students, staff and parents keep track of homework and assignments on the schools’ website.

CMS Principal Mike Megyesi said the school has made strides in the past year and a half using the system.

Students Jackson Fleming, Hunter Carlson, Hunter Stewart, Emerson Stobbe and Peyton Martinson made a video showing the capabilities of CANVAS and how it enhances students’ lives.

Social Studies teacher Mark Meyers said he learned the system while he was student teaching and though it would be helpful at CMS. “I’ve grown up with technology and that is where everything is going.”

Personnel Report

In the monthly personnel report approved with the consent agenda, Duneland appointed Amanda Terry as attendance secretary for Chesterton High School, Karen Adcock as an accounting assistant for Duneland, Sarah Pilarski as a bus driver and Richard Sexton as a maintenance worker.

Resigning this past month are CHS utility aide Remy Lewis and football coach Stan Rettew.

Announcing their retirements at the end of the 2016-17 school year are CHS Business teachers Rebecca Gierke and Donna Wilk. Also retiring is Liberty Elementary 1st Grade teacher Gayle Sandquist.

 

 

 

 

Posted 1/13/2017

 
 
 
 

 

 

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