GC School Board gives public first taste of new compensation model

By Cara L. Dempski

GLENWOOD CITY — The Glenwood City school board publicly discussed its new teacher compensation model after months of discussion, planning, and input from instructors.

The plan, presented for review during the March 12 regular board meeting, breaks instructors down into three main groups – initial teacher, developing teacher and professional teacher – with varying levels of experience in each group. Salaries for these instructors range from $40,000 as a level-one initial teacher, to $51,500 as a level-six professional teacher.

Instructional staff would also have the chance, upon reaching level six as a professional teacher, to apply for “model teacher” status. Teachers would not only need to apply, but would also be presented to the advancement committee for approval. If an instructor opted to not apply, or did not reach model teacher status, the instructor would remain at the professional level six.

Further, if a teacher applies to become a model teacher and is not successful, he or she is able to apply for consideration every third year.

Model teachers are instructors who show a willingness to “go the extra mile,” are lifelong learners, and are able to translate their learning for specific student needs. 

Personnel committee chair Jon Mrdutt detailed the plan that was presented to the board. Superintendent Tim Johnson spoke more in-depth regarding why the district opted to change the compensation plan.

“One of our goals was to attract and maintain high-quality teaching staff,” Johnson explained. “I am happy to report that we are number four out of 39 CESA districts for average length of teaching tenure.”

Johnson elaborated that the fringe benefits and beginning salary offered by Glenwood City are also among the highest in the state, which is what will draw in good instructors and keep the district strong.

Piggybacking off the discussion of the compensation model, Johnson told the board that he is currently working to bring the district’s insurance offerings into full Act 10 compliance.

According to Act 10, which was enacted in 2011, districts are only allowed to provide an 87.4 percent contribution to employee health insurance. The state legislature intends to follow-up on Governor Scott Walker’s biennial budget proposal by requiring teachers to pay a greater portion of their health insurance. In Glenwood City, that means fewer options for district employees.

“All insurance and all costs must be in Act 10 compliance,” Johnson informed the board during his legislative report. “Because of that, I’ve already removed one of our health insurance options, and it’s the least expensive option.”

Board vice president Judy Achterhof questioned how many other districts in the state may be in the same boat as Glenwood City, and Johnson speculated that most of the state’s public school districts were feeling the same pressure.

Johnson provided recommendations for the district’s 2017-2018 benefits. District employees could choose a single plan at a cost per check of either 61.86 or 45.86, or a family plan of 149.04 or 112.44 per check. The single plans would cost the school 6426.28 annually per employee, and carry a health savings account requirement of $2,100 per year and a $2,600 or $4,000 deductible. Family plans would have a $4,200 HSA requirement and carry deductibles of $5,200 or $8,000.

The superintendent also proposed imposing the 87.4 percent contribution on the dental insurance plans offered. That means an employee would pay $79.73 yearly for dental care on a single plan, and family plans would cost employees $220.84 annually. The school would pay $564 per year for those covered on single plans, and $1,561 for those using family plans.

Johnson’s recommendations indicated employees that sought to take payment to seek insurance elsewhere would still receive $4,200 in lieu of the school-provided benefits, but specified that the employee could take neither health nor dental insurance in order to receive the payment.

In other business, the board:

• Approved the retirement of teacher Barb Standaert.

• Approved hiring Marco Reyes as a volunteer baseball coach and Jacob Maes as a substitute teacher.

• Approved donations from the Meemic Foundation and Thrivent Financial for unspecified amounts and uses.

• Approved a $1,541 donation from the Glenwood City Football Booster Club to purchase new pads for the five-man blocking sled.

• Approved youth options applications for fall 2017-2018.

• Approved the fifth-grade trip to Beaver Creek May 11 and 12.

• Heard school and testing updates from Nicole Brite, Betsy Haltinner and Pat Gretzlock.

• Learned the district has been randomly selected for a DPI audit for a second year in a row.

• Received findings from the 2016 audit.

• Approved the CESA 11 shared services contract.

• Approved posting for a part-time office assistant.

• Approved posting for an elementary teacher.