The Cherokee School District Board of Education Monday night ratified the Master Working Agreement with the Cherokee Education Association, and approved administration recommendations for budget reduction initiatives for the 2010-2011 school year.
The Board ratified the 1-year CEA contract calling for a 2.1-percent increase in salary and benefits package.
"Cherokee Superintendent Dr. John Chalstrom lauded the CEA for its understanding of the tough economic times that all Iowa schools are facing. "I would call our negotiations more of a collaborative discussion than labor negotiations," said Chalstrom. "They were aware of the economic times we face and showed great understanding and foresight."
The Board also approved budget reduction initiatives for the next school year as recommended by District administrators Chalstrom, and principals Larry Hunecke (Washington High School), Larry Weede (Middle School), and Barb Radke (Roosevelt Elementary).
The proposal would save an estimated $240,000 for the 2010-2011 school year, according to Chalstrom and would include absorbing four teaching positions - two elementary classroom positions, one Middle School position, and one elementary music position. The proposal also would capture attrition savings on three retiring WHS teachers.
In order to "maximize attrition savings and prevent job loss," the administrators recommended transferring (shuffling) nine certified teachers including, K-6 vocal music position, 7-12 vocal music position, 8th grade math/WHS math, 1/2 time WHS/1/2 time CMS tech to full-time tech, elementary teacher to CMS 5th grade, 2nd grade teacher to kindergarten to maintain four sections of kindergarten, 1st grade teacher to 2nd grade, 2nd grade teacher to 3rd grade, and 4th grade teacher to 3rd grade.
Finally, there will be three sections established for each class for grades 1-4 at Roosevelt Elementary, and four remaining for kindergarten.
"We think this is the best possible solution," said Chalstrom. "This allows us to make cuts and not eliminate any programs."
In other business, the Board approved a contract for Kathy Curtis as WHS math instructor, MA Step 12, Curtis is currently a math teacher at River Valley; approved a contract for Olivia Watts as Spanish instructor, BA Step 0, Watts graduates from Central College in Pella this spring; approved a contract for Christy Alquist as Language Arts instructor at WHS, MA Step 7, Alquist is currently at South O'Brien and is a Cherokee WHS graduate; and approved a contract for Heath Hagberg as varsity girls basketball coach, Schedule B, Lane 2, Hagberg served as assistant girls basketball coach last season.
The Board also approved a contract for Harlan Curtis as food delivery service driver, and accepted the resignations of Deb Hankens at WHS Student Council Advisor, Jessie Van De Walle as Debate Coach, and Mitch Knipple as WHS teacher associate.
The Board set wages for summer food service worker at $8.50 per hour, and $15 per hour for summer food service manager.
The Board also approved field trips to the Omaha Zoo for James DeVos and the A.P. Biology students, and for Amy Sarchet to take senior choir students to Chanhassen, Minn.