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Negotiations stall again

A large crowd attended the Clintonville School Board meeting Monday, March 28 as recent contract negotiations between the administration and the Clintonville Education Association (CEA) have been unproductive.

Three items on the agenda – ESP contract modifications (for action), CEA contract modifications (for action), and non-represented staff modifications (for action) were all moved to closed session.

CEA negotiators Kevin Godfrey, Terri Schultz and Robyn Rindt were listed in a press release distributed by CEA President Dan Schmidt on Sunday, March 27, outlining the CEA’s position on recent contract negotiations. According to the press release, the CEA offered about $2.2 million in voluntary concessions from teachers over the next two years in exchange for extending their current contract through 2015.

The press release states that Clintonville settled a contract in 2010 which goes through June 2013; a memorandum to the settlement states the only issue to be discussed for the 2012-13 year is salary. Due to a settled contract the state’s new law, which calls upon public employees to make increased insurance and pension payments does not apply in Clintonville until that contract expires.

The CEA press release states their opinion that the community would want the school board to take the money in order to help preserve education, but alleges that their offer was declined by the administration.

Board President Tim Schultz and Superintendent Tom O’Toole were both given the opportunity to comment. They replied that it has never been part of the administration’s policy to negotiate through the media.

Mark Borlen spoke during the public comments portion of the meeting, urging the board not to extend any contracts at this time. “I’m here as a taxpayer, and I’m concerned that by extending contracts we’d be tying our hands as a district,” Borlen stated. “This makes me nervous, because I have seen the school portion of my taxes go up about 20 percent in each of the last couple years because of increasing staff costs. I represent myself and others who feel maybe this isn’t a popular opinion but it needs to be said.”

Pete Kirchner also spoke on behalf of the FFA summer program, urging the board not to discontinue it this year. “FFA Advisor Joe Heinbuch is talented and dedicated. As you discuss the ag class scheduling and financing, please remember to look at the demographics of this area,” Kirchner said. “Please remember what ag programs have to offer, and the long history of ag programs in Clintonville. The work Joe has been doing is good, and students are excelling under his leadership.”

The board voted 4-3 in favor of not offering Summer School in 2011. Though the program generates enough money to sustain itself, the board will use increases in the revenue limit to hopefully save staffing during next school year.

“We will have a scaled back Summer School program this year,” said Superintendent Tom O’Toole. “We will only offer remedial and credit recovery classes. It’s a stop-gap measure. Hopefully, the full summer school program will return in future years.”

Voting against the decision to not offer Summer School in 2011 were board members Ben Huber, Pat Schley, and Tom Neely.

The board briefly discussed more options for the Bear Creek Elementary facility, including selling it, gifting it, or auctioning it. The board may consider having the building appraised in order to be able to get the maximum value out of it when and if it is put up for sale.

The board went on to take the following action:

• Approved the resignation of Mike Sivertson from his middle school boys’ basketball position, effective immediately.

• Approved the 2011-12 school calendar.

• Approved the second reading of policy revisions for lifeguards/part-time supervisors. Board member Jim Dins abstained from voting on this item.

The next regular meeting of the Board of Education will be held Monday, April 11, in the middle school IMC.

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