SH teachers present contract proposal

JEWELL – The South Hamilton Education Association asked for a 5.45 percent increase in the total contract package as presented to the school board at its regular monthly meeting Monday evening. In the proposal, year one base salary is $37,000, or $1,880 added to base.

Requesting a two-year contract, the SHEA proposes that year two of the contract would add $1,900 to the base. Also, the proposal requests three days of personal leave, with the option of carrying over up to two days to be used the following year to a maximum of five days. In addition, teachers could have four days per year for professional leave.

The board took no action on this initial proposal on Monday.

Mark Thiessen of Angelo Architectural Associates of Urbandale was present at the meeting to continue discussion with the board regarding improvements to the school’s physical plant. A facilities committee has proposed a possible $9.42 million bond issue to finance improvements to the science classrooms, locker rooms, family and consumer science classroom, and replacing the existing heating/cooling system with a geothermal system.

Thiessen encouraged the board to look at timing for the project as they considered a contract with the architectural firm for the project.

“We think it will cost your students and your taxpayers by delaying,” he said, pointing to possible increases in interest rates. “And construction costs will only go up,” he added.

“I think you’re taking a risk by waiting,” Thiessen said, “but we would like to know your plans.”

“We have concerns about the timing for this project,” board member Marie Anderson told Thiessen. After the architect left, the board discussed the proposal briefly and agreed that they were not ready to sign a contract. At the suggestion of board President Will Johnston, action on the matter was tabled.

There were no comments or objections at the hearing on whether to adopt instructional hours or school days as a method to count school days, and the board approved instructional hours. There will be 1,080 hours required in a school year, rather than the traditional 180 days, which is still an option as a way to count the days in a school year.

In a related matter, the 2014-15 school calendar was approved. It sets the first day of school for Aug. 18, 2014 and commencement for Memorial Day weekend of 2015.

Technology Integrationist Catherine Hines reported to the board that new iPads arrived at school last week and are being put to good use in the new elementary iPad lab. She said that use of the iPads increases enthusiasm for the students. She also reported to the board on a meeting she and Doug Hatch, middle school/high school guidance, attended. A speaker at the meeting was Kevin Honeycutt, who gave a speech with the theme, “Our kids will spend the rest of their lives in the future. How are we getting them ready?”

In other business at Monday’s meeting, the board approved the resignation of cheerleading coach Deena Miller.