10/20/2022 3:31:00 PM North Branch School Board discusses shortage of subs; adopts principal's contract
The North Branch School Board session began on a high note last week with discussion about the large number of Honor Society students who were just inducted this fall. The National Honor Society group numbered 41, the most district officials can recall. The induction ceremony was last Monday.
The principals’ group also came to agreement on a contract effective now to 2024. The Board adopted it unanimously, with Kevin Bollman participating remotely and five members at the meeting.
Dr. Todd Tetzlaff, District Director of Finance and Human Resources, tells the Press the contract is a two percent increase for each of two years. Q Comp incentives for meeting site planning and teacher evaluations went to $1,500 annually from $1,000. Family health insurance contribution by the district increases $100 monthly in Jan. 2023.
FYI... The teacher contract was approved last year at this same time. Tetzlaff said the first year (now) included $2,000 annually applied to each cell of the pay schedule, with the highest step being a $2,400 increase. Into the second year the wage increase is 2.5 percent. Coaches and advisor positions went up $50.40.
There was some lengthy discussion on supporting a resolution that would be submitted to the MN School Boards Association (MSBA) in hopes the association would present it to a state legislator for creating language to be placed in committee.
North Branch, along with most districts in the state, is dealing with a shortage of substitutes and paraprofessionals.
The resolution states the staffing problem would benefit from temporarily exempting this class of employees from contributing part of their pay to PERA and TRA retirement plans, in effect granting them more take home pay. The state should also consider state funds backfilling the revenue loss in the plans, the rest of the action recommends.
Board member Heather Naegele attended an MSBA convention and placed the resolution before the association, as an individual. She sought the Board’s sanction of the concept last week in the form of a follow-up letter of support.
She also remarked that the attendance policy, on the agenda that night, could be more accommodating for visits to post secondary sites. Students now are not granted an “excused” absence for tech school or college visits. The site visits could be allowed two times under “excused” definitions for a junior year and a senior year, she offered.
As long as policy was being discussed there was some back and forth on the issue of “excused and unexcused” and how those are applied in tracking attendance, an issue raised by Sarah Grovender.
And, Board member Adam Trampe added his opinion that travel is educational and questioned if the district could support a policy that is less specific on quantifying absences. He’d like to see staff draft policy wording that encourages general learning— that might be less punitive of a student stepping out of a formal class setting.
The issues will go before the Policy Subcommittee and get a thorough review before action would happen. The district does first and second “readings” in the process to adopt policy and last week these were okayed as a first reading.