A controversial vote on administrative contracts made in October 2013 will be revisited by the Clintonville School Board Monday, Feb. 11.
Board members went into closed session at their meeting on Monday, Oct. 8, to discuss an agenda item listed as “Administrative/Supervisory Salaries for 2012-13 and personnel items”. After returning to open session, the board voted 4-3 in favor of approving a 0 percent total package change in administrative/supervisory salaries and benefits for the 2012-13 school year. Tim Schultz, Dirk Weber and Clyde Tellock voted nay.
At their meeting on Monday, Oct. 22, the board again adjourned into closed session to discuss an agenda item listed as “personnel items and support staff negotiations”. After returning to open session, the board voted to approve the following:
• A 56-cent per hour salary increase for support staff and the executive secretary for 2012-13. Jim Dins voted nay;
• A 56-cent per hour salary increase for the food service director for 2012-13. Jim Dins and Tim Schultz voted nay;
• A $750 salary increase for the middle school principal and Rec Center director, and a $1,500 salary increase for the superintendent, business manager, high school principal, high school associate principal, elementary principal, curriculum director, and building and grounds director. Jim Dins, Ben Huber, and Pat Schley voted nay.
“I want a re-vote on administrative contracts because I feel it was done wrong,” said Board Clerk Jim Dins. “It wasn’t on the agenda, and we voted on it.
“I want to see it on the agenda as an action item. I don’t care if everyone votes the same as they did the first time, I just want to do it right,” added Dins.
Superintendent Tom O’Toole said the district’s lawyer told him the board was within the law when the discussion and subsequent vote was taken, thought it could have been more clearly defined.
“Why don’t you just save face and do something about it?” asked resident Judy Magee. “You already look bad in the public eye.”
“I will check with the attorney to make sure we are not doing something wrong by voting on this item again,” said O’Toole. “I’m also not sure if the contracts that were signed after the first vote are binding. If they are, you may all have no choice but to vote the same way if you choose to vote on it again.”
At the end of the discussion, the consensus of the board was to have the item added to a future agenda as an action item.
The board later went into closed session to discuss CEA negotiations strategy and personnel issues, including a teacher contract modification and an administrative contract modification.
As a result of those discussions, the board voted to approve a teacher workload increase from 80 percent to 85 percent for elementary music teacher Katie Laubenstein.
According to O’Toole, action was also taken regarding the administrative contract modification item; however, when speaking to a representative of the County Post East on Monday, Feb. 4, he said he could not disclose any details at the time.
O’Toole could not be reached for comment on the outcome of those discussions.
Ballot order selection
Magee spoke to the board during the public comments portion of the meeting regarding the order of candidates on the ballot in the April election. Magee is running for a seat on the school board this year. Candidate names are randomly drawn to determine the order in which candidates’ names will appear on the ballot.
Magee’s name was drawn last.
“I am aware that there has been a practice in the past of notifying candidates of the ballot order selection so that they can be in attendance to observe the selection of the order of names,” said Magee. “However, I was not notified. I have done my homework and found out that you are not required to notify me. It is considered a courtesy.
“With that said, it certainly doesn’t look good when some are informed and some are not. In addition I was told that the secretary of the board, Mr. Dins, was only given a 5-to10-minute warning of the selection. He did indicate that Mr. O’Toole could proceed without him but he was under the assumption that the candidates had been notified.
“I want to have a sense of trust in this organization and not being invited and then having my name appear last on the ballot makes one’s sense of distrust go up. I would ask that in order to assure fairness that the school board creates a policy of how you want the selection process completed. Then you know that your staff and officials are consistent. I would hope that you would create a policy that gives ample notice to all, including the board secretary, and that all candidates on the ballot are invited.”
Dins and O’Toole responded by saying that the ballot order selection was done fairly.
“I am 100 percent confident that your name was drawn last,” said Dins. “We wouldn’t cheat – nobody did.”
“The time frame was different this year,” explained O’Toole. “There was no board meeting between the deadline for candidates to submit their papers and the deadline we had for submitting candidate information to the county clerk.
“None of the candidates were notified of the ballot order drawing this year,” added O’Toole.
After hearing from Dins and O’Toole, Magee apologized for her statement.
“It brings attention to something we should address,” said Dins. “We should have a policy to contact candidates when drawing for ballot placement.”
The board went on to discuss district policy on open enrollment, which will be an annual item from now on.
For families with multiple children in the district must re-apply for open enrollment whenever one of their children moves to another school building within the district – such as when a student moves from middle school to high school.
In previous instances, students have been denied when they re-apply as they move from elementary to middle school or middle school to high school. In those cases, the student must return to the district they reside in or open enroll into another district.
“Most parents want to have all of their children in the same school system,” said Board member Pat Schley. “So, if one of their children is denied, it often affects the other children as well. Many families that open enroll into our district now consider Clintonville their home district. We should have some special consideration for families with multiple children in the district if one of their children is denied, so that we can possibly avoid a denial that would affect the whole family.”
The board discussed the matter and will approve new policy language in the future.
“I think having a family consideration option is good, but I don’t feel it should be required for all scenarios involving multi-student families,” commented board member Ben Huber.
Schley, Huber and Clyde Tellock then reported to the rest of the board on their trip to the Wisconsin Association of School Boards/Wisconsin Association of School Business Officials/Wisconsin Association of School District Administrators convention.
The board went on to take the following action:
• Approved the second reading of Policy 4141.2 – Voluntary Early Retirement;
• The initiation of a CPS Scrip Program. High School Activities Director Adam Englebretson said the program’s first big goal will be to raise enough money to have the high school track resurfaced;
• Approved a one-year leave of absence for Erika Sween from her middle school volleyball coaching position;
• Approved the hire of Lindsay Davis to a middle school track coaching position for the 2012-13 season only;
• Approved revisions to Funds 10 and 27;
• Approved that the high school gymnastics program will not be funded next year, in accordance with policy 6145.11; and
• Approved a club-sponsored high school dance team activity, at no cost to the district.
The next school board meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 11, in the middle school IMC.