WCEA, board share proposals

The Webster City Education Association and the Webster City Community School District board of directors both gave their proposals for the 2014 to 2015 Collective Bargaining Agreement at Monday’s board meeting.

Trish Bahrenfuss, president of the WCEA, presented the group’s initial proposal. The association is calling for a base salary increase to $36,000 and a change in supplemental pay base to $33,000. Superintendent Mike Sherwood presented the board’s proposal, which says employees will be allowed to advance on step with no increase in a starting wage rate. Sherwood said the board’s proposal is consistent with previous initial proposals. The board and WCEA are set to meet on March 5 to discuss the proposals.

Also at Monday’s meeting, the board unanimously approved a motion to use hours instead of days to account for student instructional time for the next school year. The board previously discussed the idea at their last meeting.

A calendar was drafted for the district if they were to go with hours instead of days. Sherwood said that calendar looked very similar to last year’s calendar with a starting date for students of Aug. 19 and an end date of May 27. The calendar also exceeds the amount of hours required by the state. On a 180-day calendar, the district would have 1,166 hours. The minimum is 1,080 hours.

The change to hours will give the school more flexibility with its scheduling, according to Sherwood. He said the state legislature has yet to change a rule where if schools have a late start or early dismissal, those districts couldn’t count them as days of school.

“Under the current legislation, if the state doesn’t fix that, that would be problematic next year,” Sherwood said. “A lot of schools have chosen to do the hours.”

Using hours, Sherwood said the district can be more creative on making up missed days. While the board was not required to make a decision at the meeting with state notification due by mid-April, Pam Hayes said the change would be very beneficial.

“It gives us flexibility. From my point of view, the more flexibility it gives us, the better it is,” Hayes said.

The board also set a public hearing for the 2014 to 2015 calendar at their next board meeting. That meeting will be held March 10 at 6 p.m. in the School Administration Office Board Room.

In other business, the board approved the resignation of Mindy Handsaker, special education teacher.