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“No” vote leaves teachers without a retirement plan

By Kelsie Hoitomt

GLENWOOD CITY —  After months of planning and creating what seemed to be a well thought out and concrete teacher retirement proposal, the vote was shot down after a 3-3 vote left it to fail on Monday night.

Making the motion to approve the teacher retirement proposal in section 22.01 of the Professional Handbook was Jon Mrdutt and seconding that was Judy Achterhof. John Logghe also voted yes, but Charlotte Stout, Lisa Kaiser and Lori Klinger said no.

Previously in December this vote was brought to the table and there were all yes votes from the members there, however there were not enough board members present to make it legal according to the Wisconsin School Board Association.

Mrdutt who is on the Personnel and Negotiations Committee, has been the vocal leader for this proposal at the monthly board meetings.

The vote seemed to leave him speechless over the fact that the no vote meant as of right now, there is no retirement plan for any professional staff in the district.

The deadline to agree upon a retirement plan was set at January 31st, which gives the board very little time to come up with something that they all can agree upon.

Stout thought that there was more the Board could do in terms of creating a better proposal that offered more to the staff members, especially those who had been there several years. She felt that as a Board they hadn’t exhausted all of their options.

Johnson disagreed saying that they had in fact gone over every possible option. He also stated that the TSA (Tax Sheltered Annuity) matching offer in the proposal was the highest he would go.

There seems to be very few options left and little time remaining, but the Board has a major project ahead of them.

In other news, on Tuesday morning, the temperature was well into the negative and with the power going out for a couple hours, the pipes in the 4K/Early Childhood burst.

The room was flooded and the ceiling was soaked. Johnson expressed that this is another reason why the HVAC upgrade is needed.

That upgrade to the HVAC system is a part of the Buildings/Grounds/Transportation improvement plan.

There will be a special meeting next Monday, January 19 and the resolution is to be approved after final discussions amongst the Board members and with Miron Construction, Wold Architects and ICS Consulting.

The resolution’s approval will give the District the green light to go ahead and set that referendum in place for the April ballot.

There are currently two questions that will be on the ballot. The first offers a $4.74 million referendum that will result in no additional amount levied, which will not increase taxes.

The second offers a $4.5 million referendum, which will raise the mill rate less than one dollar.

The cost in question number one covers the upgrades to the air quality and energy efficiency in the HVAC system in the elementary building, roof replacement in the elementary, moving of both building offices to the front so they are safe and secure entrances, fire alarm replacement, elementary traffic flow improvement, exterior lighting and technology upgrades.

Question two asks for the $4.5 million to simply cover the cost for upgrading the air quality and energy efficiency of the High School/Middle School’s HVAC system.

On a positive note, the Board received word that the freshman class scored an average of 21 on the Aspire assessment, which is a pre-ACT test. The average score in the state of Wisconsin on the actual ACT is 22, so this brought real excitement to the Board.

Items of approval included accepting the notice of retirement from Vickie Grant, effective on June 30 of this year. She is currently in her 35th year as a Glenwood City School District employee.

The Board expressed their gratitude to her and appreciation of her years of service not only to the school, but the students as well.

The Board also approved the resignation of Pam Jarvis from food services and the resignation of Shane Strong as Middle School Track Coach. They also approved Ron Johnson as the Middle School Girls Basketball Coach.

The Board approved receiving  $360.70 from Box Tops for Education that will go in the PTC Account. That account is set up for the elementary with future plans of using the funds to upgrade the playground equipment.

The Board lastly approved the final readings for Policy 434 and Policy 346.1.3. They also approved the language change to section 7.04 in the employee handbook.