USD 398: Vote on salaries is contentious years ago

Board split evenly following member resignation


News editor

Early in the regularly scheduled board of education meeting June 9 the board accepted the resignation of member Brian McDowell effective June 1, 2008. McDowell, representing district two, moved with his family to McPherson.

His resignation left the district with a six-member board evenly split on the matter of offering a raise to Peabody-Burns High School principal Tim Robertson.

Following a unanimous vote to approve a five percent salary increase for classified personnel, Peabody-Burns board members entered four executive sessions totaling an hour and 15 minutes for the purpose of discussing personnel.

On the final return to open meeting, motions to increase the salaries of Ken Parry, Ray Savage, and Rex Watson by five percent were approved.

Board member Rhonda Loucks made a motion to offer Robertson a 12-month contract and a seven percent pay increase. Her motion was seconded by Duke Eldridge.

Before a vote was taken, Gary Jones moved to amend the motion to approve a 12-month contract with a five percent increase as proposed for Robertson. Julia Ensminger seconded the amended motion and it failed 3-3 with Eldridge, Loucks, and Tony Zappone opposed.

The original motion also failed 3-3 with Bruce Burke, Ensminger, and Jones opposed.

Eldridge moved to approve a 12-month contract with a six percent raise for Robertson and Loucks seconded the motion. The motion failed 3-3 with Burke, Ensminger, and Jones opposed once again.

Jones moved to approve a 12-month contract with a five percent raise for Robertson with Ensminger making the second. The motion failed, 3-3 with Eldridge, Loucks, and Zappone opposed.

Eldridge moved to build into the 2008-09 budget a seven percent increase for high school principal Tim Robertson and table the issue until the next meeting. Zappone seconded the motion and it carried 4-2 with Ensminger and Jones opposed.

In other business the board:

— entered into two executive sessions for a total of 10 minutes to discuss personnel. Upon return to open session the board approved warrants, payroll, and transfers as well as the consent agenda with the exception of acceptance of the resignation of Shawna McCartney as amended. The board approved the emergency bus procedures manual, offered a summer job to Adam Benson, accepted the recommendations as presented for classified personnel and supplemental assignments for the 2008-09 school year, and accepted resignations from both Brad Shaw as assistant junior high football coach and Brian Simmonds as assistant boys' high school basketball coach at the end of the 2007-08 school year.

The consent agenda also included offering teaching contracts to Kerry Czarnowsky, art teacher and head junior high volleyball coach; Elizabeth Gottsch, Success Center program teacher; and Beth Piper, science teacher.

Additional positions offered during a later discussion in the meeting were: Peabody-Burns Elementary School teacher to Danielle Retzlaff, assistant high school football coach to Philip Unruh, bowling coach to Curtis McBride, night custodian to Jacob Lopez, and pre-school aide/para to Peggy Phillips.

— accepted the resignation of Shawna McCartney as elementary teacher, head girls' junior high basketball coach and head high school track coach effective at the end of the 2007-08 school year and charge McCartney a contract release penalty of $500.

— accepted as presented a job description for administrator Ray Savage as follows: assistant secondary principal (40 percent), athletic/activities director (40 percent), and director of building and grounds/custodial and maintenance services (20 percent).

— tabled for 30 days an issue regarding financial data, interest rates, and cost savings for current bond refunding on callable bonds to the board, giving board members and the superintendent time to study the issue.

— agreed to accept an anonymous monetary gift for a district leadership fund after reviewing legal advice from Kansas Association of School Board attorneys. The district will publicize how the funds are used and write a thank you note to the donor while respecting the donor's wish to remain anonymous. The funds are given to the district to reward staff members with opportunities to participate in leadership programs.

— heard a review by Watson of current goal accomplishments, future goal timelines, a recommendation by the site council of 10 points to develop and 10 points to promote for USD 398, and the results of a recent survey of district patrons. Watson also reviewed proposed changes in the way the district informs the public of school issues including a newsletter, online calendar, brochure, and web page.

— approved membership in the National Food Service Program agreement for the 2008-09 school year and approved setting adult meal prices at the state recommendation of $1.70 for breakfast and$2.85 for lunch.

— approved the district student handbook for the coming year with minor changes.

— approved as proposed, the out-of-district ITV class and TEEN agreement charges for 2008-09.