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home : news : news Tuesday, May 31, 2016

4/17/2013 Email this articlePrint this article 
Central board approves superintendent contract with salary freeze

By Jeremy Huss
Staff writer

The Central Community School Board approved a new, three-year contract with superintendent Dan Peterson after Peterson offered to take a salary freeze in light of ongoing budget cuts and upcoming negotiations with union bargaining groups.

The board approved the contract at its regular meeting April 10.

"It's an odd time for me to come to you with a request for contract renewal," Peterson said, pointing to an $800,000 budget reduction that resulted in the layoff of multiple teachers.

At the same time, the district is starting negotiations with union groups, and Peterson said the negotiations always have "undertones" the superintendent will get his pay increase once the negotiations are done.

"I'm asking you to renew my three-year contract with the district with a salary freeze for next year," Peterson said.

"I don't want to be in the position at the end of the year that we're making reductions, and I took a salary increase," Peterson said.

Peterson's salary is $140,117.85.

With the salary freeze, Peterson would receive slight increases in district contributions for health insurance and retirement costs amounting to a .61 percent increase, he reported.

Board members thanked Peterson for making the proposal.

"I think it shows great leadership on your part," said board president Christy Kunz.

Board member Jim Irwin echoed Kunz' thanks and said Peterson's salary is in the middle range for districts of this size and for schools in the WaMaC and commented administrators always have the chance to earn more by moving to larger school districts to the south.

Board member Jennifer Naeve said the move by the superintendent shows his integrity.

Board member Kurt Rickard noted the board typically conducts a performance review along with the superintendent's contract renewal at the end of the school year.

However, he said the board has discussed the topic in other recent meetings, and "We're all happy with his performance."

Peterson reminded the board he has a "rolling contract," which means he always is in the first year of a three-year agreement.

Board approves budget, sets tax rate

The board approved its certified budget for the 2013/14 school year and an amendment to the current year budget following two public hearings.

No members of the public spoke at the hearings.

The budget for the 2013/14 school year sets a tax levy of $15.376 per $1,000 valuation, which is a decrease of three one-thousandths of 1 cent.

It also includes an 8 percent income surtax.

The overall tax rate is based on the legislature authorizing 4 percent allowable growth for schools. The levy will fall if the legislature sets a lower allowable growth figure.

The levy will generate approximately $6.5 million in revenue from property taxes.

The budget gives the district a maximum spending authority of $15.1 million.

The budget amendment increases spending for support services and other uncategorized expenditures based on actual expenses.

It increases expenditures for support services from $4.67 to $4.99 million and for other expenditures from $2.78 to 3.62 million.

Board looks to make meetings more welcoming to public input

Board members reached consensus to try a change in the board meeting format to make meetings more welcoming to the public.

The change was proposed by superintendent Peterson after he researched how others school boards conduct their meetings in response to concerns from community members.

"On a spectrum of being the most welcoming to the least, we're on the least, as far as the public is concerned," Peterson said.

While the board currently allows public comment at the beginning and end of each meeting, board members do not respond to the comments.

The change will eliminate language that states board members will listen to comments but will not respond "due to legal considerations and privacy rights."

"Sincerely, the board can respond to whatever they want to respond to except for personnel information and other confidential things," Peterson said.

Instead, the board will add a "public forum" to the start of each meeting that will allow board members to answer questions and interact with the public.

Discussion will be limited to five minutes per person and can be cut off at the discretion of the board president.

The board also agreed to experiment with allowing members of the public to speak to specific agenda items when the board reaches that item on the agenda, rather than only at the start or close of the meeting.

Along with the change, the board will incorporate a streamlined format for meeting agendas that Peterson said is "cleaner" and gives the board more flexibility in its meetings.

Messenger service

available to community

A notification system that informs district parents about school events and activities now is available to community members who do not have children attending school in the district, Peterson reported.

Community members can sign up on Central's website to receive phone and e-mail messages about school happenings through the School Messenger notification system.

Parents do not need to submit their information as they already are included in the notification system.

"It's a good service for us to pump out information to parents and students. To now have it available to community members is great," Peterson said.

Barber retires as nutrition director

Under the personnel report, the board accepted the retirement of Luanne Barber as nutrition services director, effective at the end of the school year. Barber has worked for the district for 16 years.

The board also approved:

•Hiring Jacquelyn Daters as .75-time language arts teacher at the high school. Daters currently is student teaching at Bettendorf High School.

The board also approved the appointment of Daters as yearbook advisor.

•Approved the employment of Erin Jenkins as full-time language arts teacher at the middle school.

•Accepted the resignation of Andrea Arp as special education associate at the elementary, effective April 19.

Other business

In other business:

•New procedures are in place for snacks at the elementary school due to concerns about students with food allergies, elementary principal Jennifer Vance reported.

All snacks brought in must be labeled with ingredients and checked by staff, she said.

•Middle/intermediate school principal Jim Wichman and teachers Jeremy Kuehl and Theresa Wainwright gave a presentation on the district's "sensory room" for students with special needs.

•High school principal George Pickup reported on a long-term decrease in the number of failing grades at the high school.

Pickup said a mentoring program started in 2009 and the implementation of 1:1 computers has helped reduce the number of F grades.

Currently 42 high school students are failing courses, and there are a total of 78 failing grades. In the 2006/07 school year 103 students failed courses, and there were 261 failing grades.

The number of discipline referrals also is trending downward, falling from 262 in 2008/09 to just 27 this school year.

•The board approved a resolution to allow an early start date for the 2013/14 school year and listing benefits of the early start. The resolution is intended to head off an effort by opponents of the late start to challenge the department of education's process of issuing waivers to allow an early start date.

•The board approved the sale of four buses and a 2001 Buick with 241,473 miles. The buses are from 1991, 1992, 1998 and 2000 and have mileage ranging from 144,550 to 183,727. Bus sales may be staggered to avoid flooding the market, Peterson said.

•The board approved open enrollment out of the district for Courtney Lehmkuhl, 10th grade; Brett Bruggenwirth, kindergarten; and Blake Carswell, kindergarten; to attend Camanche Community Schools and for Logan Comstock, ninth grade, to attend Calamus-Wheatland Community Schools.


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