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 CAB Teachers Finally Get Contract

October 29, 2008 - The Charles A. Beard School Board voted unanimously last week to approve a new master contract with the district’s teachers, providing the first up-to-date agreement for local educators in more than three years.

The new contract runs through the end of the current school year. It also covers the 2006-2007 and 2007-2008 school years, time periods during which CAB teachers worked without a contract.

No details about the terms of the contract were disclosed or discussed before or after the board’s vote, which came during the public portion of its Oct. 21 meeting. Board members had met privately in executive session earlier that evening, however, and had been given an eight-page handout that summarized changes to the 2005-2006 master contract, the last one approved.

The pay for CAB teachers will increase a little more than seven percent under the new contract, providing base salaries for this school year that range from $35,571 to $58,411. Prior salaries will be increased by 0.5 percent for each of the first two school years covered by the new contract, with a six-percent raise given for the current school year.

While the new contract includes no increases for pay on the extracurricular salary schedule, it does call for the creation of six new extracurricular positions: science pentathlon ($109); summer football ($500); summer boys and girls basketball ($500 each); summer volleyball ($500); and mentor ($1,000). Also, teachers working voluntary extracurricular events after the close of the regular school day will earn $20 per event.

According to the handout summarizing the changes, the new master contract will also include two memoranda of understanding. The first will suspend a paragraph dealing with electronic retrieval of student grades for the second semester of this school year to accommodate a new program that will allow parents and guardians to have electronic access to their students’ grades. The second memorandum of understanding calls for participants in the group hospitalization and/or life insurance plans not to have to pay premiums for the months of October, November and December of this year.

Knightstown Intermediate School teacher Tom Crawford, president of CAB’s Classroom Teachers Association, thanked board members at last week’s meeting for their work negotiating the new contract. “It’s wonderful to have a contract through the end of this year,” he said. “It’s wonderful to have a contract for the last two years.”

In other business at last week’s meeting, the board approved a resolution authorizing an $850,000 bond issue to pay a judgment entered against CAB earlier this month. CAB owes the New Castle Community School Corporation $758,510.18 for payments it failed to make in 2007 and early 2008 to a special education cooperative NCCSC administers. A public hearing on the proposed bond issue will be held at the school board’s Nov. 18 meeting.

While the board voted last month to proceed with refinancing the debt incurred to construct Knightstown High School, that effort is now on hold due to the instability of the stock/bond market. According to a financial consultant who addressed the board at their September meeting, refinancing and a supplemental bond issue could result in as much as $2 million becoming available for either capital projects at KHS, or to pay the debt off early.

The board also voted last week to pass on final readings an amendment to a policy dealing with mileage reimbursement, as well as a new cell phone policy. As they had done when the board addressed the matter on first reading in September, board members Mark Fort and Tim Wehr again voted against the new cell phone policy.

An amendment to CAB’s policy on purchasing was also brought to the board for a final reading at last week’s meeting. The board voted to table the matter until its November meeting, however, due to questions about language in the policy that appeared contradictory.

The board voted to hire Alice McQueen (Rushville) and Schrader Real Estate & Auction (Bluffton) to jointly appraise CAB’s central office property at 345 N. Adams St. The board had briefly discussed at its September meeting the possibility of selling the property, depending on its valuation and the estimated cost of providing new office space for the seven employees who now work there.

The board also approved hiring Voris Construction to handle snow removal at KHS this winter. For removal of snowfall of two to three inches, Voris will charge $200; the cost will be $300 for snowfall of three to five inches.

In personnel matters, the board voted last week to approve the following extracurricular and coaching appointments: KHS National Honor Society (Kristi Williamson); girls varsity track assistant coach (Vickie Rhodes); varsity baseball head coach (Donnie Martin); varsity baseball assistant coach (Joe Patton); girls tennis head coach (Jane Rodgers); KHS boys basketball volunteer assistant coach (Bryant Tyler); and junior high boys basketball assistant coach (Jeff Griggs).

The board also accepted the resignation of kindergarten teacher Peggy Sweigart, who has worked for CAB for 18 years. Her last day of employment will be Nov. 7.

Superintendent Gary Storie provided the board with a proposed timeline for strategic planning for the school corporation. The first meeting, which will likely be a private executive session where the board will meet with an outside consultant, is expected to be Saturday, Nov. 8. Storie told the board that he would like to have the strategic planning completed by April.

The board approved three field trips at last week’s meeting, including a trip to Chicago by the KHS band in May. The other two trips are for the varsity cheerleaders, who will attend a competition in Indianapolis in January, and for the KHS dance team, which will go Lake Central High School in St. John next month for dance instruction.

Storie gave the board a copy of the drug testing policy in use by Rush County Schools. If the board wants to move forward with this, he said he would like them to vote on it on first reading at their November meeting.

Board member Tom Schaetzle, appointed to the board in August, was advised by Storie at last week’s meeting that he needs to submit a conflict of interest form. Storie explained this was necessary because Schaetzle’s wife sometimes serves as a substitute teacher for CAB


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