USD 410 board approves compensation increases

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN ALEEN RATZLAFF
The Unified School District 410 Board of Education voted at Monday night’s meeting to extend next year’s contracts that will include an increase in total compensation for its certified staff and classified employees and administrators.

Following a series of executive sessions to discuss matters related to employer-employee negotiations and personnel issues, the board returned to the open meeting and approved an overall 2.259 percent increase that includes defined benefits, wages and salaries.

“The district will need to find a ball park of $72,000 in revenue enhancers or spending cuts for the next school year,” Superintendent Gordon Mohn said after the board’s action.

Mohn said that estimate takes into account projected savings gained by eliminating several support positions and expenses for secretarial and custodial services.

A major factor that will affect final calculations is whether the board approves changes in the local option budget in its adoption of the 2003-04 budget.

Also related to finances, the board voted to change auditing firms. Swindoll, Janzen, Hawk & Loyd will perform the district’s audit for the 2002-03, 2003-04 and 2004-05 school years.

The board made its decision based on a recommendation from Mohn and business manager Jerry Hinerman. The McPherson firm replaces Knudsen Monroe & Co., LLC of Newton.

While the current firm has emphasized analysis of output, the new firm will focus more on accessing processes, Hinerman told the board.

Mohn said the new company “will bring a different set of eyes” when conducting its audit and reviewing the district’s financial operations and procedures. Mohn said he anticipates this change to be “real positive” for the district.

The McPherson firm’s costs to the district will be $20,400, a bid slightly less than the one submitted by Knudsen & Monroe.

In other business, the board:

accepted the resignation of Phil Oelke as head baseball coach for the 2003-04 school year.

“He wants to take at least a one-year hiatus,” Mohn said.

approved a contract for Nathan Hiebert as business teacher at Hillsboro High School and a supplemental contract as assistant high school boys’ basketball coach and an assistant track coach.

Hiebert is a 2003 graduate of Bethany College where he was a member of the men’s basketball team, which placed second in the NAIA post-season tournament.

approved a contract for Monica Leihy as a family and consumer science teacher and a supplemental contract as FCCLA sponsor.

Leihy has teaching experience in Centre USD 397, Cedar Vale and two schools in Wyoming.

approved supplemental contracts for Kara Chisholm and Tina King, assistant HHS volleyball coaches; Lynn Wiebe, girls’ tennis coach; Ruth Baldner as a freshmen class sponsor; and Collette Burton as an assistant track coach.

adopted the district curriculum standards in listening, viewing and speaking; technology and vocation arts; and second language, which is Spanish.

Joyce Loewen reviewed the standards with the board.

“This is the board’s endorsement of what we teach,” Mohn said. “(The vote) is the board’s support of the curriculum taught in our district.”

placed in consideration a policy for performance-based credits.

“Serious, ambitious students” can earn performance-based credit in lieu of completing a traditional course, said Dale Honeck, HHS principal.

But credit can only be earned for courses offered by the district.

“It will be rare that we use it, but will allow for a test-out policy,” Mohn said.

The board will take final action on the policy at the next regular board meeting.

approved payment of bills presented by Hinerman.

In his superintendent report, Mohn informed the board that Prairie View will again conduct a day camp at Hillsboro Elementary School this summer.

“We think it’s really beneficial for the kids,” he said, adding that all expenses are covered by Prairie View.

Eddie Weber, board vice president, presided over the meeting in the absence of Cal Jost. This meeting was the last one for Jost, Reg Matz and Brenda Enns, board members who will finish their terms this month.

Mohn thanked the three for their long-term contributions. The board also verbalized its appreciation to Pat Call, who has resigned as HES principal to be superintendent for the Hill City school district.

At July’s meeting, the board will reorganize with newly elected members Dale Klassen, Rod Koons and Mark Rooker sitting around the table.

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