Bloomfield school district to fund portion of career ladder

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Bloomfield, Mo.--The Bloomfield School Board voted unanimously to fund the school's share, $87,000, of the Career Ladder Program next year with the stipulation that the program would be phased out over the next five years ending with 2014-15 school year at their regular meeting Monday night. There were several teachers in attendance to speak on behalf of continuing the Career Ladder Program.

In executive session the board voted to accept the resignations of Jan Aslin as a part-time teacher and High School counselor Ruth Ann Sifford. The board also discussed hiring a math teacher, but no action was taken.

The Career Ladder Program has been on the agenda at several board meetings. The board voted to participate in the program for the current year, but did not know if state funding would be available until recently. The district funds half the program, with the other half coming from the state. The money goes to teachers who participate in projects in addition to their regular teaching contract. State legislators balked at funding the program for the current year, but finally did while indicating that the program would likely not be funded in the future.

Tammy Rhine, chair of the Career Ladder Committee, asked that the board fund their portion of the program for next year. She noted that participating teachers relied on this funding as part of their salary scale.

Dr. Nicholas Thiele, superintendent, offered the board two options on continuing the program. The first option would pay the district's share, roughly $87,000, for next year, followed by 80 percent of that amount in 2011-12, 60 percent the next year, 40 percent the next and 20 percent in the 1014-15 school year, which would be the last year. Option two, as presented, would accelerate that schedule by reducing the district's commitment to 80 percent beginning next year. Both options would allow no new participants in the program.

Teacher Kellie Reese asked that the board do the same this year as last and fund their portion of the program. She said the board could consider funding of the program on a "year by year basis."

The board agreed that program funding could be done yearly, but stressed that unless the legislature comes forward with funding the program would be phased out using the first option.

The board approved funding the district's share of the program for next year.

Thiele presented the board with two bids from area banks for the district's bank depository. The bids were from Regions Bank in Dexter and US Bank in Bloomfield. Thiele recommended that they accept the bid from US Bank and it was approved by a unanimous vote.

The board unanimously approved the following with little discussion:

* Hiring Beussink, Hey, Roe, Seabaugh and Strodle, LLC as the district auditing firm at a cost of $11,000. The amount was up from $9,000 last year and the board stipulated that auditing services be put up for bids next year;

* A Special Education Compliance Plan for 2010-11;

* Updates to sections E,F,G and H to the Board manual;

* Making application for the Race to the Top federal program. Theile said the state did not receive any funding in the first round in which Bloomfield participated. He said the state would again be applying and this was necessary if the district were to receive any funds in the future. He noted that the district could elect to not participate at any time during the process;

* Hiring United Healthcare for health insurance for district employees. Thiele said the amount required from each employee was $383.48 which was below the cap of $410 set by the district. He proposed that the money saved by the district be put back into the salary schedule of all employees and it was approved by the board.

Under the superintendent's report, Thiele reviewed the timeline for building improvements and got board approval to set up professional development workshops for next school year. He also said that summer school this year would be limited to core subjects and open only for remediation. He said the cost was estimated to be $130,667,39 while the district would receive only $124,189.94. He said he believed the district would break even when food service funds were factored into summer school.

Board President Don Lafferty opened the floor to several visitors. Two students and one parent addressed the board about a teacher. The students said that Debbie Shafer was being transferred from teaching gifted students to an ISS/AEP teacher. They said that would be taking her away from students in the classroom and they didn't believe that was fair. A parent also spoke up about the effectiveness of Shafer as a teacher and questioned why she was being taken away from teaching. No action or comment was offered by the board.

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