EM school board ratifies teachers’ contract
By LeAnn R. Ralph
ELK MOUND — The Elk Mound Board of Education has ratified a contract with the school district’s teachers that gives a $500 raise for 2011-2012, a $1,000 raise for 2012-2013 and a $500 raise for 2013-2014.
The $500 was put on the grid for last year, but none of the teachers will get back pay, said Dr. Ron Walsh, district administrator, at the Elk Mound school board’s April 22 meeting.
Another $1,000 was added per cell for this year, and next year includes a $500 per cell increase, he said.
The school board is reserving the right to set aside up to $500 per teacher outside of the grid to pay out however the school board chooses, Dr. Walsh said.
The school board can hand out the extra $500 on merit or across the board to all and will have to discuss how to distribute the money, he said.
Tim Sivertson, school board president, noted that the extra $500 was something the school board could consider but that “it’s not written in stone.”
“Mr. Weld (of the law firm Weld, Riley, Prenn and Ricci) said we didn’t have to give (the teachers) anything … but we are all on the same team,” said Kyle Jenson, school board member.
The increase was within the limit set by the state legislature in Act 10, he said.
Dr. Walsh noted that the Elk Mound teachers had approved the contract but that the West Central Education Association also had to approve the proposal.
School board and teacher approval will allow the administration to implement the contract before the end of the fiscal year, he said.
Only dues-paying union members are allowed to vote on ratifying the contract, which means about 25 percent of the Elk Mound staff are eligible to vote on the contract, Dr. Walsh said.
Board of Education members were surprised to learn that only 25 percent of the staff at Elk Mound have opted to pay union dues.
When the teachers voted to remain in the union, they are all in the union, but only about 25 percent of the teachers in Elk Mound are still paying union dues, and only those who are paying dues can vote, Dr. Walsh explained.
“I have no problem negotiating with the teachers, but if the (number of dues paying members) got down to, say, 10 percent, then we’d be negotiating with 10 percent but what about the other 90 percent?” wondered Jim Holte, Board of Education member.
Several Elk Mound school board members noted that system devised by the state legislature did not result in equal representation for all of the teachers.
The original legislation required union members to re-ratify their union every year, but that provision is on hold for now, Dr. Walsh said.
The Elk Mound Board of Education unanimously approved the proposed contract for 2011-2012, 2012-2013, and 2013-2014, pending ratification by the West Central Education Association.
In other business, the Elk Mound Board of Education:
• Elected the following people during the Board of Education’s organizational meeting prior to the regular school board meeting: Tim Sivertson as president; Kyle Jenson as vice-president; Margaret Dieter as clerk; Gary Bodenburg as treasurer Dr. Ron Walsh, district administrator, as deputy clerk. The school board also hired Mary Strand as the recording secretary for the Board of Education.
• Awarded the Notable Educational Contribution award to Chris Hahn, fourth grade teacher. Hahn has been a teacher in the school district for seven years and has served as head basketball coach for five years.
• Learned that the Elk Mound Middle School graduation is June 6.
• Learned that Randi Stanley, high school business education teacher, has been awarded a grant from Discover for $12,000 for Mini-iPads and a cart to be used with the new financial literacy course.
• Learned that Tim Sivertson, president of the Board of Education, was recently elected to the National School Board Association Board of Directors. Sivertson is only the second person in the state of Wisconsin to hold that post, Dr. Walsh said.
• Set the next meeting for May 20 with the annual staff recognition at 3:15 p.m. and the school board meeting at 5 p.m.