Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal, February 23, 1998

LP School asks to work with city on study results


A study, spearheaded by the school district, as to the city and district's problems and potential has been completed.

Now the Lester Prairie School Board wants to meet with the city council in order to implement ideas that came from the study.

The study was conducted by Don Christensen, educational planning and development consultant, and Doug Thomas of the Center for School Change.

Christensen has compiled the information he gathered from interviews and has made suggestions.

The board also discussed the city and district jointly hiring a planner. This would not be the same as a city administrator. The planner's objective would be a plan to spur growth in the city and school district.

Supt. James Redfield brought up hiring Christensen to do this. The board left further discussion for when it meets with the city council.

Staff contract

The teaching contract for the 1997-98 and 1998-1999 school years was reviewed by the board.

The certified staff will receive a 4.8 percent wage increase in the first year of the contract and 4.4 percent in the second year.

Redfield noted a teacher's base salary in 1997-98 is $23,921, an increase of $710 over the 1996-97 base salary of $23,211.

In 1998-99 the base salary will be $24,496, and increase of $575 over 1997-98.

In the first year of the contract, the district will pay 80 percent towards the cost of health insurance. In the second year, the district will pay 100 percent of single coverage and pay each certified staff member $235 to go towards additional coverage.

Dental coverage will not be provided the first year. In the second year, the district will pick up 80 percent of the cost of dental coverage.

A new item negotiated this time is a 403b plan to take effect in the second year. This is similar to a 401k.

District contribution to the 403b will be based on the number of years of employment: 0-4 years $200 per year, 5-9 years, $250; 10-14, $300; 15 plus years, $350.

The contribution must be matched by the participating staff members. If a teacher quits prior to the fifth year of employment, he/she does not receive the district contribution.

Extra-curricular coaches received a .5 percent pay increase in the second year of the contract, and agreed not to ask for an increase when the contract is renegotiated for 1999-2001.

Redfield told the board the teachers have received back pay, based on the new contract and retroactive to the beginning of the school year.

More union activity

The non-certified staff has filed for unionization.

They wish to become a part of the Minnesota School Employees Association.

Redfield said he has sent the required forms to the Bureau of Mediation Services. A vote by the non-certified staff on whether or not to unionize must be taken. No date for the vote was announced.

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