Contract includes 3.7-percent total package increase
The Cherokee School Board Monday night ratified the proposed 2009-2010 Master Working Agreement with the Cherokee Education Association.
Cherokee Superintendent Dr. John Chalstrom categorized the recent negotiations with the CEA as those done in good faith and understanding by all concerned parties, including the CEA and Board representatives involved in the negotiations.
The new Master Working Agreement includes a 3.7-percent total package increase, and raises base salary from $28,270 (2008-2009) to $29,150 (2009-2010).
One of the other major negotiating points included employees voluntarily donating personal leave days to a "personal leave bank" to benefit employees forced to take extra time off for medical or family hardship.
In other action, the Board approved the resignation of Bart Smith as high school physical education teacher, varsity boys basketball coach, and freshman football coach. Chalstrom explained that Smith's wife has been transferred wth State Farm Insurance to Clear Lake and that the Smiths will be relocating there.
The Board also approved the resignation of Julie Hummel as Cherokee Middle School 8th-grade track and field coach, pending finding a suitable replacement; and approved the resignation of Sherry Miller as the junior varsity girls basketball coach and assistant varsity coach.
Chalstrom also gave the Board an update on the District's transportation program, as Mike Wiederholt, District Transportation Director, was unable to attend Monday's meeting.
Chalstrom and the Board recommended that Wiederholt continue negotiating for the future purchase of one new school bus and one used one to suit the needs of the fleet and continue the District on its way to acquiring a new bus every three years.
"We have a fleet of 12 buses and five full-time route buses that need upgrading," Chalstrom told the Board. "Mike is great at monitoring the fleet and keeping everything up and running. He saves the District a lot of money because he is so good at maintaining the buses."
Chalstrom said the District's buses average more than 200,000 miles before they are considered unreliable.
Wiederholt and Chalstrom recommend that the District purchase a new 65-passenger bus at a cost of $70,000, and the purchase of a used 65-passenger bus (35,000 miles) at a cost of $47,000 for the 2009-2010 school year.
The buses will be purchased with PPEL (Physical Plant and Equipment Levy) funds, with the estimated $120,000 purchase fee the lone major expenditure expected from the PPEL funds next school year. That represents about 40-percent of the PPEL budget, according to Chalstrom.
No action was taken by the Board on the matter, with Wiederholt to continue negotiating on the bus purchases and report back to the Board.
Any proposed Federal Stimulus monies made available in the future - amounts and targeted purposes as yet unknown - also could affect the District's fleet in a positive manner, according to Chalstrom.