During Monday night’s School Board meeting, the item that took a great deal of time surrounded the proposed compensation schedule for 2016-17 for staff, much of which ended up being tabled until April.

Video from the meeting can be obtained here (please keep scrolling under the video for more article text):

Exempt Staff With Individual Contracts

  1. The budget forecast used an assumption of salaries increasing 1.5%.
  2. The total of salaries in 2015-2016 was $3,404,395.
  3. The consumer price index CPI for the 2015-2016 school year is .12%.
  4. Applying CPI to the base total salaries in 2016-2017 school year would be $3,408,481.  (A difference of $4,085 or .12%.)
  5. Applying steps to only staff on the salary schedule would be $3,473,301. (A difference of $68,905 or 2.02%)

Compensation at this level would freeze the following expenditures:

  • $0 for teachers moving a lane for educational attainment
  • $0 for credit reimbursement
  • $0 increase for additive (extra duty) contracts
  • $0 supplemental pay for teachers that received a distinguished summary
  • $0 supplemental pay for teachers that are National Board Certified.

The original District recommendation was approval of a CPI and step increase, but Superintendent Luke Francois stated, after hearing from impacted employees, he suggests reconsidering giving a lane for educational attainment for five teachers as they were pre-approved. These teachers would be grandfathered in and freeze further endeavors. Doing this for these five impacted teachers would increase the compensation total $23,059.27 or 2.7%.

Francois pointed out that the compensation model, as drafted by a team of Mineral Point employees, states that, if the district lacks the resources to fully fund the model, compensation will be paid out using the following priorities in this order: CPI, steps, lanes, credit reimbursement, extra duty, distinguished summary, and National Board Certified.

Francois added if the Board decides to use the 2.02% increase, it goes beyond the projection of 1.5%.

Board member Glenn Kinch wanted to know if student achievement will increase if teachers have a master’s degree and Francois responded there are studies to show if a teacher has a master’s in the field in which he/she is teaching, yes.

Francois also added that the health insurance came in under the projected amount, so the savings from that could be applied to fund this compensation.

Board member Lisa Hay wished to see the matter tabled until more about next year’s total budget is known, stating she wasn’t sure if the district is lacking resources to fully fund this compensation model or not. Board member Jeff Basting agreed.

Francois stated he believes quality staff is the biggest asset to the district and would prioritize people over materials and technology, also adding salaries and benefits make up the largest part of the District’s budget so it is difficult for him to put a budget together without these numbers anchored down.

Non-Exempt Staff Without Individual Contracts

  1. Total wages in 2015-2016 were $551,161.52.
  2. CPI was applied to the salary schedule.
  3. Staff were advanced $.20 on the salary schedule.
  4. Total wages in 2016-2017 would be $558,915.27  (A difference of $7,753.75 or a 1.41% increase)

The District recommends approval of a CPI and step increase.

For non-exempt, or hourly, staff, CPI would equal a two cent per hour increase, and adding a step would mean a 22 cent per hour raise from this year to next.

Both salaried and hourly compensation plans were tabled until April in an effort to learn more about the entire budget picture.

CPI increases of .12%, or $211, were approved for two administrators not in a contract renewal year–Mitch Wainwright, high school principal, and Vickie Dahl, middle school principal. Total compensation for both administrators in 2015-2016 was $176,358. Applying CPI total compensation would be $176,569. Basting stated he didn’t feel the increase was enough. Voting yes were Matt Lindsey, Julie Stephenson, Larry Dolphin, Hay, and Larry Steffes. No votes came from Basting and Kinch.

Following executive session, the Board reconvened in open session and approved a 2.5% increase for the 2016-17 school year, and an additional 2.5% increase for 2017-18, for Elementary Principal Brad Brogley by a 5-2 vote with Kinch and Basting voting no.

The Board also voted to approve a 2.5% increase for the 2016-17 school year, and an additional 2.5% increase for 2017-18, for Director of Pupil Services/School Psychologist Dixie Dempsey by a 4-3 vote with Kinch, Basting, and Dolphin voting no.

Other business:

— Discussion occurred surrounding the budget for next year. Budget surplus this year will be used to pre-purchase technology and instructional material expenditures for next year.  It is anticipated that a small portion of fund balance will be utilized to cover revenue shortfall next year.  

  1. Salary and benefit recommendations were presented to the Board.
  2. Budget requests for the 16-17 school year were to be submitted to building principals last Friday.
  3. Captial project budget remains frozen at $0 pending results from the Nexus long-term facilities study (due in June).
  4. Technology recommendations were presented to the Board.
  5. Instructional materials will be prioritized by building principals

Recommendations for changes in staffing levels will be studied by the Board through the Personnel Committee over the next month with recommendations to the full board in April.

Areas of study for the personnel committee to consider:

  • Elementary School Counselor increase of .20
  • Instructional Coach/Intervention Specialist .50 FTE
  • Grade 7-8 Regular Education Teacher .50 FTE
  • Music Teacher allocations in effort to increase participation
  • Alternative School staffing

— Following requests for proposal last year, Mineral Point selected Dean Health Plan for health insurance.  The current plan includes a $20 OV Copay, $2,000 deductible, 0% Coinsurance, and $0, $5, $20 RX.  Currently there are 13 single subscribers, 61 family subscribers equaling 221 members, or a total of 234 active enrollees.  

The current rate for a single premium is $526.02 and would increase to $546.48 and for a family premium  $1,367.65  increases to $1,420.85.  The current annual premium of $1,085,182 would increase to $1,127,395 (a 3.9% increase).  

The budget forecast used an assumption that health insurance would increase 6%.The District recommends approval of the Dean Health Insurance plan with annual increase of 3.9%.

Francois stated the District negotiated this low rate based on the fact Mineral Point is one of the healthiest Districts around.

The Board unanimously approved the 3.9% increase.

— The Board recognized the state wrestling, gymnastics, and girls basketball participants. Student-athletes recognized included: wrestling: Logan Schmitz, Boone Schmitz, Scott Pittz, Danny Pittz, Kyle Juedes, Riley Workman, and Brandon Forseth. Gymnastics: Lauren May, Tori Palzkill, and Martina Steffes. Girls Basketball: Clara Chambers, Megan Blume, Carlie Qualley, Myah Aschliman, Jessica Schultz, Mara Aschliman, Cassie Bossert, Delaney Smith, Stacey Thornton, Haley Chubb, McKenna Reichling, Sydney Staver, McKenzie Schmitz, and Destinee Kruser.

— The Board took a look at the Technology Budget. The 2015-2016 Technology Budget was $132,000.  The increase of $71,000 to this year’s budget will be funded from the 2015-2016 budget surplus holding the net increase in the technology budget to $0.

A one-to-one environment at the middle school is necessary to deploy blended learning strategies using Apex.  Additional lap top carts, Chromebook carts, and desktop computers in existing labs would be reallocated to the elementary school if supported.

The District recommended approval of the proposed technology budget.

Hay stated she would like to see some evidence of a 1:1 environment at the middle school level improving learning for students. Basting stated he would rather see this money go into funding the staff compensation model than middle school Chromebooks, but Francois stated he believes the District can do both.

After discussion, the Board unanimously approved the technology budget as proposed, except reducing the number of Chromebooks for the middle school from 175 to 60. This means the new Chromebooks will need to be kept at school and shared and there will not be a 1:1 environment for the middle school.

— The Board unanimously approved a high school course addition of Advanced Algebra Strategies. This math intervention course is designed to be taken simultaneously with Advanced Algebra.  Students will continue their work towards mastery of pre-requisite skills while receiving extra help and reinforcement of the concepts being covered in Advanced Algebra.  This does not count as part of the mathematics requirement needed for graduation, rather as an elective credit.  The selection process for this course will include a combination of teacher recommendations and assessment data.

— The Board unanimously approved digital curriculum expansion. The District currently expends $8,000 to purchase online courses through the Wisconsin Virtual School (WVS).  Most of the courses currently taken by students are advanced placement and foreign language courses.

Middle School Mathematics uses a blended learning digital curriculum entitled Apex Learning.  For an additional $4,000 annually the district would expand the scope beyond WVS and have unlimited seats available to all courses across multiple content areas for grades 6-12 students.  In addition to blended learning in current courses students could take courses for credit recovery, advanced placement, electives, intervention, ACT preparation, summer school, and a future alternative school.  

The curriculum would serve as a resource to teachers and additional course offerings to students while eliminating the need to purchase new textbooks in some courses.  The District recommends approval of the purchase of Apex Learning as a curriculum resource.

— The credit card statement and bills payable were approved unanimously with Kinch and Basting abstaining.

— Susan James and Randy Olson representing the Gridiron Club presented a donation in the amount of $12,000 to be used for the new football stadium. These proceeds were generated via various fundraisers.

— Some Board members wished to see a policy be put in place that would require prior board approval before certain purchases, even within the budgeted amount, would be made. The policy committee will meet prior to the next full board meeting to discuss potential language.

— The maternity leave request for Amanda Ingwell, elementary instructional assistant, passed unanimously.

— The Board will be invited into observe the Professional Learning Community process on the Wednesday afternoons of March 30 and April 6.

— Items for information and discussion included the building usage fees as well as the police liaison and school safety. Comparables for surrounding districts were presented with no action taken.

— The next regularly scheduled Board meeting is Monday, April 11 at 6:30 pm.