PdC School Board
approves staff raise
By Ted Pennekamp
The Prairie du Chien School Board elected new officers at its regular meeting Monday night in the high school auditorium. Christine Panka was elected president. Mark Forsythe will be the vice president. The clerk will be Lynn O’Kane. Ron Quamme was elected treasurer.
In other business, the board voted unanimously to give the district’s staff a 1.46 percent salary raise. The raise is tied to the current consumer price index of 1.46 percent. Superintendent Drew Johnson said that the school district uses WPS Insurance, which has given the district a renewal of no increase in premium. However, the Affordable Care Act fees are increasing 4.1 percent, which will be the district’s increase in cost for the same insurance coverage model. Johnson said that the district is also seeking a bid from the WEA Trust through the CESA 3 Insurance Cooperative. In addition, Johnson noted that the district is projected have approximately $250,000 less for a revenue limit for next year. The revenue limit is set by the state.
In further business, there was a long and arduous discussion among school board members and several teachers regarding voluntary professional development training undertaken by some teachers. The teachers wanted a policy by which they would be compensated for travel time, meals and other such expenses. Of immediate importance was an upcoming trip by several teachers to undergo training in Michigan, so the training contract policy needed to be set as soon as possible.
Several board members said that the major concern of the school district regarded paying for teacher training is that they don’t want to pay for a teacher to receive training and then have that teacher suddenly leave for a different job. “We’ve been burned by this in the past,” said board member Lonnie Achenbach.
Finally, after a fair amount of frustration and confusion by all parties, and a number of rescinded and failed motions, the board voted to pay for training, but to require the teacher to pay back the full training expense if that teacher leaves for a new job within one school year, barring disability or death. Also a per diem stipend will be received by each teacher for travel time and meals. Also, if a teacher decides not to sign a particular professional development training contract, there will be no repercussions for the teacher.
The board will revisit this training policy issue in the future, and possibly set a new policy after having taken the time to consider all options and information with the teachers.