Members of the Weyauwega-Fremont School Board disagree about whether instructors who are asked to substitute teach during their prep time should be paid for it.
During the board’s Feb. 13 Committee of the Whole meeting, it voted 3-2 to continue paying teachers the current rate of $15 per hour when they are asked to sub in such situations.
Doug Ehrenberg, Sandy Smith and Jim Stuebs voted yes, while Dan Kohl and Neal Loehrke voted no. Tony Beyer and Randy Yorkson were absent.
The topic was part of the board’s discussion about the Professional Staff Employee Handbook, which will cover teachers, guidance counselors and school psychologists.
Each month, the board reviews a particular section of the proposed handbook.
A decision on the subject of pay for teachers asked to sub during their prep time had been tabled last month by the board.
Ehrenberg said there are cases in other professions where people receive additional pay for work done outside of their normal duties.
He cited his own profession as a funeral director.
On call 24/7, Ehrenberg is paid a salary but said if a veteran at the Wisconsin Veterans Home dies and a funeral home in Florida wants the veteran sent to Florida, he receives additional pay to pick up the body, embalm it and drive it to an airport.
Matt Wilbert is W-F’s middle and high school principal and a former teacher. He said if a teacher is asked to sub during a prep time, that means the teacher will have to make up that 45 minutes of prep at another time.
Classes are 45 minutes in length, and Wilbert said teachers use prep time to plan lessons, correct the work of students and contact parents.
If they sub during that time, many will do their prep work after they are done coaching at the school and when they are home.
Loehrke, who is the board’s president, said that since the board’s January meeting, he had talked to constituents about the subject. People were “flabbergasted,” he said, when he told them that when teachers were asked to sub during their prep time, they were paid a sub rate.
Smith, who is a former teacher and principal, asked him if he explained that the teachers were giving up prep time.
“If they’re losing 45 minutes of prep time, they have to make it up somewhere else,” she said. “Personally, I don’t know any teacher who would rather have the $15 than the prep time.”
District Administrator Scott Bleck said the approximate cost to the district of paying teachers to sub during that time is $3,500.
After the meeting, he said that since a class period is 45 minutes, teachers are paid less than $15 when they sub during their prep time. It would amount to $11.25.
After a motion was brought forward to continue paying teachers in these situations, Loehrke said he would rather wait until all seven members of the board were present to make a decision.
Stuebs then noted that he was not present when the board voted to offer chocolate milk as a daily milk choice for all students in the district.
Loehrke then made a secondary motion to postpone a vote on the matter for two weeks.
“I think this is a hot enough topic that we should have all seven board members there,” he said.
The vote on his motion failed, after he and Kohl voted to postpoine action, while Ehrenberg, Smith and Stuebs voted not to.