Farwell BOE & teachers ratify a 3-year contract

By Pat Maurer
Correspondent

After a mid-meeting closed session for negotiations Monday evening, the Farwell Board of Education ratified a proposed contract with the Farwell Education Association.

On Wednesday, the FEA met and also ratified the contract.

Interim Superintendent Tom House summarized the contract changes as follows, saying, “It is a three year contract with wages in each year based upon the blended student count.  The blended count is what determines the actual state funding for the fiscal year.”

He said, “The blended count is based on 10% of the previous spring count of (1236.71 for Farwell Area Schools) and 90% of the fall 2017 count.”

For 2017-2018 he listed the wage agreement, saying, “If the blended count is 1245, teachers will get their steps and longevity increases. If it’s 1250, they’ll get steps and longevity and a .5% raise. If it’s 1255, the raise will be 1%. If it’s 1260, the raise will be 1.5%.”

For 2018-2019 and for 2019-2020, House said, “All teachers will get an incremental longevity increase if eligible.  If not eligible, the member will receive a $350 off scale payment.”

“Additional wages and compensation will be based upon the blended student count,” he added. “If it has an additional 10 students, they will receive steps and longevity. If 20 more students, steps and longevity plus 1%. If 30 more students, steps and longevity plus 1.5%. If 40 more students, steps and longevity plus 2%.”
“Essentially there will be step movement and possible raises if the enrollment and the state funding increases,” he said.  “If there are no increases the [wage] increases will not become effective.”

“In addition,” he said, “The pay for unused sick days upon retirement or separation will go from $45 per day to $50 per day. After accumulating 120 unused sick days, teachers have been paid $45 annually in a lump sum in June for any (sick) days in excess of 120.  What is new is if teachers do not use a sick day during the month of May, they will have $250 added to their payout for unused days.”

He said that the teachers also agreed to switch to a prescription plan that requires using the mail order pharmacy for maintenance drugs.  “This will result in cost savings,” he said.

He concluded, “The deductible for the MESSA ABC Plan 1 (health coverage) increased by $200, and the district’s portion of the funding for the deductible increased by $100.”

Another item of agreement between the Board and the FEA was standard calendar of the school year that can be used as a the format for each year.
In another matter at the board meeting, House outlined changes in the State Aid Bill which includes penalties if contracts are not settled by October 1. “This won’t affect Farwell,” he told the board.

He said plans are underway for the first week of school and noted that professional development is scheduled in Bullock Creek on August 23rd with a speaker who will remind those that work with students how to deal with the trauma in some of their lives.

He also recommended moving the administrative offices back to the former location. “It will present a better picture for Superintendent candidates,” he said. The Board agreed with his recommendation.

Following their closed session and the ratification of the FEA contract, the board unanimously approved the Interim Superintendent Contract, and after some discussion and House’s recommendation on an increase in the proposed wages for a new Director of Facilities and Grounds that is his first choice for the position, the Board agreed to allow him to offer the position to the top choice of the final three interviewed.

New business at the board meeting included:

*First reading of the NEOLA Policy 3130;

*Approval of a resolution to borrow $2.2 million for operations in anticipation of State Aid.

*Approval of the resignation of Kyle Woodruff. House said he will begin a search for a new Athletic Director and Assistant Principal or Dean of Students.

*Approval of hiring Lisa Graham as new Middle School Special Education Para and Danielle Maynard as new Elementary Title I Para.

*Approved the resignation of Mistine Nasrey as High School Special Education teacher. Following that approval, House outlined some of the difficulties that other schools are having in finding Special Education employees.

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