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Board Okays Crivitz Teacher Starting Pay Adjustments

After long discussions and split 4 to 1 votes on both issues, Crivitz School Board on Wednesday, June 19 agreed to cut starting salaries for incoming teachers and gave their blessings to the Four Seasons Club on Miscauno Island as site for the 2014 Junior Prom.

Board members present were Martha Neitzer, Tim Mueller, Tim McFadden, Lyle Cherry and President Mike Dama. Cory Sotka and Jane Meissner were absent.

Superintendent Patrick Mans recommended cutting the base pay for newly hired teachers in the district from the current $39,443 to $33,000. He said for a variety of reasons having to do with collective bargaining over the years that base salary had crept up to an inordinately high level more than $7,000 above any other school in this area, and unsustainably high in view of pending budget difficulties. His recommendation also was to pay starting teachers with masters degrees $36,000 a year, but that number was raised to $37,000 before the final vote. In subsequent years pay levels will increase in accord with years of experience and educational credits added, plus any other factors the board might consider, Mans explained.

Mans distributed information sheets on pay schedules at other schools in the CESA-8 area, and stressed that the change in base starting pay “will not involve anyone going backward,” and the new starting pay will not affect any current staff members.

He said cutting the starting pay for new, inexperienced teachers to the $33,000 level will put Crivitz slightly over the $32,000 median in the district, thus continuing to give a slight edge in competing for new talent.

Cherry said when the base pay discussions started Crivitz was first or perhaps second in the entire state in terms of starting pay for new teachers, and the purpose was to attract the brightest and the best of each year’s crop of new teachers.

Mans said currently starting pay at Peshtigo is closest to Crivitz in this immediate area. Next year the Peshtigo starting pay will go up from $31,000 to $35,000.

“This is how we attract teachers,” Neitzer declared.

Mans said since the $500 per year per student State Aids cut in in 2010 Crivitz can no longer afford to start at those levels. He said it is very difficult to build a salary schedule when you do not know what the funding from the state will be. Crivitz is also limited by spending caps, and some districts are allowed to spend much more per student.

Neitzer remained concerned about keeping good teachers. Mans assured her there will be salary negotiations with Crivitz Teacher’s Association annually, but currently Crivitz starting salaries are far too high.

Neitzer’s concerns were shared by McFadden, who suggested they start teachers at $35,500, to be slightly above Peshtigo. Mans said districts are collaborating on cost control and urged them to “keep from playing the competitive game.” He added that most teachers who come to Crivitz come because they want to work here. He conceded that some positions are hard to fill, and asked the board to include some leeway, probably a $5,000 difference, to use if a position needs to be filled in an emergency.

McFadden moved to cut the base pay to $34,500 instead of the recommended $33,000, with an option for up to $4,000 additional incentive, which would put Crivitz second from the top. That motion received no second.

Currently starting pay at Crivitz for a teacher with a Master’s degree is $42,000, compared with $39,000 at Coleman and $36,000 at Peshtigo. The new starting pay at Crivitz for a Master’s Degree teacher will be $38,000.

Mans said teachers who come to the district with experience will be started at whatever they made in their previous position. Also, he said, there is more opportunity now than there was in the past for the board to have some control over compensation for professional development and job performance.

“There’s a delicate balance between remaining competitive and being fiscally responsible,” Dama commented.

McFadden wondered why Marinette, a larger district, starts teachers at $31,500, and asked if there is a difference in benefits.

Mans said hardly any contracts still provide insurance with less than a 10 percent employee contribution.

When vote was called on Mans’ recommendation McFadden cast the sole opposing vote. Those in favor were Cherry, Mueller, Neitzer and Dama.

The board gave its blessings to some year-end revisions to the 2012-2013 budget, approved a $750,000 short term tax anticipation note at 1.29 percent annual interest for cash flow purposes, approved some changes to the staff handbook, purchased some new and replacement computers, and accepted a new plan for WEA employee health insurance coverage that will make the 2013-2014 budget easier to live with.

The board approved Jeff Dorschner as Athletic Director, Jack Timlin as a part-time summer technology helper, and Suring band director Amy McClellan as an instructor for summer band lessons. To correct an oversight that happened last fall, Andy Peplinski formally approved as the 2012-2013 freshman basketball coach. Peplinski’s name was inadvertently left off the coaching list that the board approved last fall. High School Principal Jeff Baumann commented that Peplinski had nonetheless done a wonderful job.

Janet Starzer’s resignation as 8th Grade Volleyball Coach was accepted, as was the resignation of Dana Prang as a high school English teacher. Prang reportedly will pursue a career with AFLAC Insurance.

Revisions and year end payments were approved for the 2012-13 school year as explained by Mrs. Linda Tarmann. The result is a $189,885 reduction in the Fund 10 balance, leaving $2,322,864 to be carried over to the coming year. The original budget called for expenditures of $7,604,782, compared to the final tally of $7,699,922.

Mans said they expect the next state budget to provide an additional $150 per pupil for next year. He was concerned that expanding the private school voucher system means Crivitz will get $108,000 less in state aids next year.

One bright spot is the district will save over $100,000 in health insurance coverage next term. He thanked the entire staff for their willingness to participate in the Wellness Program, which will cut $44,000 from next year’s premiums in addition to the minimum of $84,000 savings they will realize because of a new Wisconsin Education Insurance (WEA) policy offering that came because of Act 10 changes in state law.

There were only 16 responses to a request on the web site for suggestions on ways to cut costs for the coming year, and no requests for hard copies of the survey.

He said once the state budget numbers are known he will work with the board to come up with a budget, and will keep the suggestions in mind.

Early in the meeting there had been considerable discussion on the Junior Class committee request to hold their prom at the Four Seasons Club. Main concerns were transportation and the hazards of traveling so far on back roads. Busses will be available for those who want to take them, and some board members suggesting making that means of transport mandatory. Others contended students now drive to Green Bay, Marinette and elsewhere for prom night dinners out and maintained transportation should be a family decision. Main arguments on behalf of the Pembine prom location were made by Alexis Druckrey, with support from advisor Molly Meyers and teacher Jim Kirchberg.

Druckrey stressed they wanted it held away from the school “so it will be way different from a homecoming.” Meyer said cost also is a factor, and students can save $2,000 by holding it at a private facility. It is far more expensive to convert the commons room or gym into a prom setting than it is to go to a site where many of the decorations are already in place.

Dama preferred to see the event held within the school district boundaries, and eventually cast the sole vote against the request. Motion to allow the prom at Four Seasons and impose no requirement for transportation was made by Cherry and seconded by Neitzer.

Cost of the prom, including dinner and a dance, is to be $40 per person, including the bus ride to and from the event for those who choose to take it. Cost of the prom alone is $10. There will be three advisors plus Mr. Mans on the bus. The event will be held on an upper floor at the resort, and anyone who leaves for any reason will not be allowed back in.

McFadden suggested making the bus ride mandatory, but was voted down by the rest of the board.

Elementary School Principal Jeff Walsh reported that the school’s Positive Behavior Intervention System (PBIS) has been selected for honors by the School of Merit program for 2012-2013. They will get a banner on Aug. 20 recognizing that achievement.

Walsh reported that the PTO, working with parents and teachers, held its annual raffle in late May. They gave over 85 donated prizes and raised over $3,000.

Walsh reported that summer school started two days after the regular school year ended. About 135 students in grades 4K through 6 are attending classes from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Lunch is provided free for students up to 18 years of age.

High School Principal Jeff Baumann reported that about 175 persons attended the Spring Sports Banquet at Lynda’s Sky harbor on Wednesday, May 22. Major sports award winners were Pete Banaszak Award: Alec Garcia and Kelsey Fickler; American Legion Award: Jake Wiedemeier and Theresa Orlando, and Wolverine Backers Award: Cody Wolf and Victoria Koons. The golf team made it to the sectional meet with a very young roster, Baumann said, and the track team sent two individuals - Jake Wiedemeier and Ben Fischer - to state.

The graduation ceremony on Saturday, May 18 went well. There were 53 graduates. Emily Steer was valedictorian and Paisley Montgomery was salutatorian. “We gave out over $80,000 in scholarships and the ceremony was well attended,” Baumann concluded.

Buildings, Grounds and Transportation Director Tom White thanked Lamers Bus Lines for donating transportation of the school band for Memorial Day performances, and said he had sent a note of thanks on behalf of the district.

He thanked JC Power Sports for their contribution of a new Yamaha Rhino ATV to be used for grounds maintenance and athletic events. He explained the ATV was obtained through Yamaha’s Law Loan program, which loans the Rhino vehicles and other products to law enforcement, firefighters and other agencies free of charge. Mr. Ott came up with the idea and contacted JC Power Sports, and he and Ott drafted a letter of request and received a positive response and the machine had been delivered the previous week.

White reported summer projects are underway. Carpeting had been removed from several classrooms in the elementary building the previous week and tile installation was to begin shortly in classrooms on the south and west sides of the building.

Materials were being delivered for the high school lighting improvement project, and he expected installation to be completed by the end of July.

Staff members were asked to turn in their keys at the end of the school year so an accurate inventory could be obtained. The inventory is complete the keys will be returned at the start of the next school year, White said.

Community Education Director Jolene Huc reported their board met on June 12. She said the “Big Skinny” update is that the first group has lost 491.3 pounds so far, and a second group will start with official weigh in sometime in August. She suggested anyone wanting to get involved to get a group of five people together who each need to lose at least 20 pounds. She said every team needs a student member aged 18 or younger who struggles with weight.

She thanked all the teachers helping with the summer program, with a special thanks to Donna Ledvina for all her work and effort in preparing the free summer lunch program and Mr. Walsh, who helps with the lunch count and custodial staff who clean up afterward. She jokingly told Walsh the kids don’t think he looks bad wearing a hair net.

The Community Garden project has been approved by Village President John Deschane and will probably become a reality next year, Huc said. They are now looking for interested gardeners to help plan and give direction for ground readiness, as well as sponsors and helpers for the new project. Produce will go to the Crivitz Food Pantry.

Flag Football registration is coming up and flyers were to be ready soon for the open house. Huc asked anyone interested in coaching a team to contact her at 715-854-2721, ext 442.

The Fitness Center will be open to the community from 3:30 to 9 p.m. on week days and 8 to 10 a.m. on Saturdays until Monday, Aug. 19. It will then be closed until Monday, Aug. 26 for refinishing of the gym floor.

Huc said several classes will no longer be offered by NWTC and Community Ed will pick up some of them. She said they will get them scheduled and on the calendar as soon as they have appropriate attendance.


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