The Storm Lake School District responded to the Storm Lake Education Association's proposal, asking for a 6.51 percent hike within a package to cost the district $734,696, during an open meeting on Wednesday.
Speaking on behalf of the District, Superintendent Dr. Carl Turner proposed a 2 percent hike to the 2013-14 teacher salary schedule, or a total of $226,026.
"The District's initial proposal is to increase the base by $317 to $29,904 and no change in contribution towards the health insurance," Dr. Turner told the Association members.
He further told the Association that the SL Community School Board reserves the right to move dollars within the package, which will happen if insurance costs increase. The offers based on current known financial conditions at the state level.
Dr. Turner provided the background for the District's 2 percent proposal.
* Allowable growth has not been set by the legislature. The allowable growth is standing at zero percent until Governor Terry Branstad's education plan is passed; Democrats are recommending a 4 percent growth. It is expected that allowable growth will not be set until March 1.
* Storm Lake School District certified count is down 13 students. The state aid received is based on the previous year's certified count so this year's count will result in less dollars to the district next school year.
* Since last year's settlement, 2.5 full time positions were added resulting in more costs. It was pointed out that a full time position in the Early Childhood program has already been approved for next year and an additional fifth grade teacher may be needed as there are currently only six sections; there are seven sections of fourth grade and to keep those classroom numbers manageable, an additional section is anticipated as they move up.
* Insurance rates have not been set. This is something that will not be known until April, Dr. Turner told the Association.
Another new area the Association will be "hammering out" is an entire section titled employee evaluation procedures.
It was pointed out that legislators, at the close of last session, called for the evaluation of all teachers each year being reviewed by their peers. Legislatures further said that the implementation of this type of review should be in the master contract of all schools by next fall.
The Association members said they are unsure of how the new evaluations are supposed to work but no matter what, they want to make sure that they are done to the extent that all teachers and staff can benefit.
Supt. Carl Turner said again, as he did last week during the Association's proposal, while the district will follow procedure, he doesn't want to see the writing put into the master contract as it is too difficult to change once in the master contract. He said he has ben in contact with other superintendents and everyone is still trying to figure out the best way to carry out the wishes of the legislatures.
The two entities will now meet in closed session to come up with a figure that both will agree upon. It was decided to wait until some of the unknowns are known (such as the allowable growth item and the insurance costs.)
Dr. Turner added, "I appreciate your guys' attitudes. the board believes in our teachers but we have to be fiscally prudent. Whatever we do this year also happens in the future."
He concluded by saying he is sure they will all come to an agreement.