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School board OKs $6K salary increase for MCTEA instructors

Mitchell residents will have to vote at the Mitchell Career and Technical Education Academy, 821 N. Capitol St., today. Voters can cast their ballots for the mayoral race, a one-year school board seat, a three-year school board seat and members of Ward 3 for their council representative. (Matt Gade/Republic)

Standing on a dirt floor in the middle of construction of the new Performing Arts Center, the Mitchell Board of Education adjourned its Monday meeting.

This was after approving a $6,000 increase for instructors at the Mitchell Career and Technical Education Academy (MCTEA) for the upcoming school year as well as a 5 percent increase for Mitchell Technical Institute's faculty employees for the 2016-17 contract year.

These increases were part of the Mitchell Area Technical Educators (MATE) agreement. MATE represents instructors who are considered technical educators.

Superintendent Joseph Graves told the board he was pleased an agreement was able to be reached with MATE.

"I was pleased to say that even though it was a very complicated year because of the new funding for that purpose and also because in the new funding there is also a requirement that there be differentiated pay based on market demand, based on a rubric from the state so there was a lot of local things and nonlocal things and all of that has gotten placed in there now," Graves said. "It all looks good."

MATE had previously gone through the agreement and voted to approve it prior to the school board's meeting, Graves said. Two of the board members, Kevin Kenkel and Neil Putnam, served on the MATE negotiations subcommittee.

MTI President Mark Wilson told the board Monday during its regularly scheduled meeting at MCTEA the process was a complicated one, but he is also pleased with how the agreement came together.

"It's a good opportunity for us to be competitive with salaries and most importantly, we're going to be able to retain quality instructors," Wilson said.

Another aspect of the MATE agreement allows the school district and/or MTI the ability to unilaterally reopen negotiations on compensation should the dollars provided by the state approved by the South Dakota General Assembly be lost or reduced in any way.

After approving the pay increases, the board was given a tour of the new performing arts center, which is scheduled for move-in during Christmas break.

The board last received a tour earlier this summer, and members were amazed with the progress thus far, especially the work on the 1,200-seat theater.

What was once a large and open area, is starting to look like a theater space to board members as they were led around the site by Puetz Corporation site superintendent Jed Liedtke. Liedtke took the members through the $15.3 million center, pointing out several different changes. Liedtke told the board that there are noticeable changes daily, and the crew is working hard to keep on schedule. Puetz Corporation broke ground on the 67,000-square-foot performing arts center in June 2015.

Personnel

As part of a consent agenda that includes board minutes, claims and open enrollment, the board approved the following personnel items:

• New Hire (classified): Cindy Vold, paraeducator at Mitchell High School, compensation of $13 per hour for 7.5 hours daily, effective Aug. 24; Stephanie Dockweiler, paraeducator at Mitchell Middle School, compensation of $14 per hour for 7.5 hours daily, effective Aug. 24; Jenna Jamison, assistant band-color guard, compensation of $1,491, effective 2016-17 school year; Sarah Klentz, paraeducator at ECH, compensation of $10.87 per hour for 7.5 hours daily, effective Aug. 24; Krista Flanagan, paraeducator at Mitchell High School, compensation of $11 per hour for 7 hours daily, effective Aug. 24; Emily Gass, paraeducator at Mitchell Middle School, compensation of $14 per hour for 7.5 hours daily, effective Aug. 24; Kristina Allen, paraeducator at Mitchell High School, compensation of $11 per hour for 7 hours daily, effective Aug. 24.

• New Hire (other): Samantha Martinez, special education behavior specialist in all buildings, compensation of $36,500, effective Aug. 6.

• Resignation: Hallie Tate, paraeducator, effective 2016-17 school year; Jennifer Brewster, library aide at L.B. Williams Elementary, effective date TBD.

• MTI New Hires: Donnell Houx, adjunct SLPA lab instructor, compensation of $3,000, effective July 1; Beth Peschong, adjunct SLPA lab instructor, compensation of $3,000, effective July 1; Jamie Griffith, adjunct SLPA lab instructor, compensation of $3,000, effective July 1; Karie Gosmire, adjunct SLPA lab instructor, compensation of $3,000, effective July 1; Theresa Gibbens, adjunct SLPA lab instructor, compensation of $3,000, effective July 1.

Other business

In other regular business, the board:

• Approved the salary/wage adjustments for MTI non-faculty employees for the 2016-17 school year. For employees at MTI who do not operate under a master agreement, a salary/wage increase was recommended. According to the proposal, the rule of thumb was a 5 percent increase with adjustments based on additional duties, commensurate responsibilities and new hires.

• Amended a motion from the April 11, board meeting to correct the legal description of the MTI on-site house. During the April board meeting, MTI officials declared the on-site house as surplus property. In the motion, an incorrect legal description was given. The correct legal description should read as follows: Lot 11, in Tract H, Wild Oak Golf Club Addition to the City of Mitchell, Davison County, South Dakota.

• Heard board member reports and commentary. Many of the board members shared their experiences and takeaways after attending the Associated School Boards of South Dakota and School Administrators of South Dakota 2016 convention, held Aug. 3-4 in Sioux Falls.

• Heard the superintendent's report. Graves told the board that new staff will begin professional development this week. Returning staff will begin coming in next week. And this year, the first day of school will be on Wednesday, Aug. 24. Graves said typically school would begin on a Monday, but after completing parent surveys, it was decided to "push it back a bit" and Wednesday was the most frequently chosen date for the first day of school. With about two weeks to go before school begins, Graves said between now and the start of school there will be registration at both senior high and the middle school.

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