Questions on Co-Op Athletics Programs, Contract Negotiations Highlight C-L School Board Meeting
Questions of athletics programs, costs, and co-ops were a major point of discussion again at this month’s meeting.
According to board member Mike Meals, a meeting with some members of the new co-op football team highlighted advantages to the program that hadn’t previously been brought to light.
“There was one young man who was playing the line for us last year and probably would have been this year, too, but due to solid numbers from all three schools that are participating, he was able to be a wide receiver, which is probably where he should be anyway,” he noted.
“It’s just a good thing. And to hear the excitement in their voices, there’s no doubt in my mind we made the right decision.”
However, there are still some questions of associated costs for the junior high football program.
According to Meals, last year the district paid $483.66 per athlete which came to a total of $6,700.
Superintendent Amy Glasl noted that they had made some preliminary calculations based on the formula used for the billing last year, to come up with an estimated cost for this year of $440.50 per athlete for the 21 students that are currently signed up, making this year’s estimated total $9,250.00 for the junior high program.
However, Glasl also noted there has been some discussion of switching over to a flat fee.
“We suggested $7,500.00 as a flat fee for junior high football,” she said.
“I don’t even know if they’ll accept it. We didn’t really talk that much about that, but that’s what we’d like to propose.”
Glasl also noted with the number of athletes constantly changing from year to year, trying to decide the best way to pay for the students involved is complicated, and it is something the board should continue to review as each agreement period ends before making a new agreement.
Following the discussion, the board gave Glasl the nod to continue discussing the possibility of a flat fee for the junior high football program at the next meeting.
The Track Co-op was another issue of some discussion at the meeting. Glasl recently met with the superintendents, business managers, athletic directors, and principals from Clarion Area and North Clarion to discuss the possibility of a Track co-op.
The board members were given figures for several different scenarios for financial agreements for the co-op, one that looked at just the Clarion-Limestone budget for the Track program, another that set a basis for a co-op with a second coach and 25 athletes from Clarion Area, and a third that also figured in costs for resurfacing the track and costs for the pole vault pit and high jump.
The initial figures for just Clarion Limestone’s program, based on the formula Clarion Area used for the football program, came to $438.32 per athlete.
The second figure, with a second coach and 25 more athletes from Clarion Area, came to $476 per athlete, for a total of $32,000, of which Clarion Area would pay half and Clarion-Limestone would pay half.
The third figure, which took into account the cost of resurfacing the track and the cost of the pole vault pit over twenty years, and the cost of the high jump over ten years, came to a total of $60,000, of which Clarion-Limestone would pay half and Clarion Area would pay half.
“We felt that if they’re going to play co-op with us, and we have to resurface the track they’re using, and we’re going to have more people there utilizing it, we felt we should put that into the cost. The same for the pole vault pit. They don’t have one, but we bought one, and they’re going to use it,” Glasl said.
Board member David Schirmer noted that the pole vault pit Clarion-Limestone purchased is “one level below Olympic quality” and the track is “probably one of the best in Pennsylvania.”
“They need to pay for that if they’re going to use it,” Shirmer said.
Discussion of Unfilled Teacher Positions
Superintendent Amy Glasl gave the board and those in attendance a short presentation to show the logic behind her decision to replace only one of the elementary teachers after two left, and not replacing one high school teacher that retired.
“This could have been very easy for me as a superintendent. I could have just said to the board that we’re hiring. That would have been the easiest thing to do and with much less stress, but that is not what I was hired for,” Glasl said.
“In my experience, in 32 years, I’ve done this a lot, and they’re hard decisions, but I’ve watched other good superintendents make these good decisions, and I’m not saying my decision is going to end up being the right one, but if it isn’t I’ll admit it, in public. But I can’t put my head on my pillow without showing you why the decision was made and the facts behind it.”
According to Glasl, at the end of last year’s school year there 453 students and 26 teachers. The class sizes, per class, averaged 16 in Kindergarten, 14 in first grade, 15 in second grade, 22 in third grade, 18 in fourth grade, 20 in fifth grade, and 18 in sixth grade
According to Glasl, this year there are 428 elementary students and 25 teachers. The average class sizes this year, with one less teacher, are 15 per class in Kindergarten, 18 in first grade, 18 in second grade, 21 in third grade, 22 in fourth grade, 18 in fifth grade, and 20 in sixth grade.
Glasl stated she proposed not replacing one of the teachers because due to having fewer students, it simply wouldn’t make a large impact on class sizes.
However, she noted that with some of the primary grades increasing in size, the school will most likely have to hire another teacher again in the future, possibly as soon as next year.
At the high school level, Glasl stated they did not replace the teacher who retired becaue when it was advertised, a teacher from the English department expressed interest.
“It makes sense and contract-wise they are given that opportunity, they don’t have to have it, but they should be highly considered if they want to change positions,” she noted.
Glasl said when they decided to move that teacher from English to Social Studies, she began delving into the schedule to see how things would work out with either another teacher hired, or without.
According to Glasl, when she ran a test of the schedule with replacing everyone, including the retirement, and having a full staff, the report came out that 99% of the student in the school would receive their required classes and 57% would receive all the electives and other choices that they wanted.
However, when she ran the report again with one less teacher, and just the one teacher transferred from English to Social Studies, the figures came back exactly the same.
“No electives were lost by doing that. There were two already that had zero kids in them, so there were no electives lost,” she stated.
According to Glasl, the class sizes also evened out a bit more. Rather than class sizes ranging from classes as small as two students up to 19, most of the classes now average between 15 to 21 students. The change also did not affect study halls. The largest study hall, like last year, should be around 80 students, with most of the study halls having less than half that number.
Rhonda Shook, a parent in attendance, had some questions regarding the numbers during the public comments portion of the meeting.
“I really appreciate the sincerity and the transparency explaining the decisions,” Shook noted.
“Do the numbers take into consideration the flux with Career Center students from morning to afternoon?”
According to high school principal Mel Aaron, the numbers did take that into consideration, and the program utilized “blocks out” the Career Center students for the period of time they attend the Career Center so they can only be placed in the classes that suit their schedule.
Shook also voiced concern about the 99 percent figure for students that are able to get their required classes, and asked what happened to the one percent that don’t get those classes, according to the figures offered.
Principal Aaron then explained that the one percent actually covers students with IEPs who have special classes and come up in the program with a blank schedule due to special scheduling.
“The highest we’re going to get is 99 percent no matter what,” he noted.
Marissa Widmer, the Language Arts chair and a parent in the district, also voiced concerns about not only the increased class sizes from the choice not to fill the vacancy, but also some issues left behind by previous vacancies not filled.
According to Widmer, since she began with the district in 2007, the district has lost two Food and Consumer Science teachers, the full-time High School Librarian, one full-time language teacher, and a Reading Specialist.
“We do not have a Reading Specialist in the high school at all. So once students with those needs come over from the elementary, that need is never met again. We’ve been ‘grandfathered in’ to teach them reading skills as the English department with none of us have a certification or a specialty in. And once they hit ninth grade, all of that support leaves, so you’ve got students who aren’t meeting grade level, maybe they’re reading at a fifth or sixth grade level, we can’t identify them, we can’t give them services unless they have an IEP, and they don’t all have IEPs,” Widmer said.
“I really do hope that the board and the administration will listen to our request to someday fill that (English) position, may that day come sooner than later, and to entertain the idea of bringing in an actual Reading Specialist to work with our kids in the way that we see they truly need.”
Following Widmer’s comments, Glasl noted that she and Aaron were having ongoing conversations about the possibility of filling the Reading Specialist position.
“We’ll keep asking and we’ll support that 100 percent, so thank you,” Widmer said.
Following a question regarding the percentage of students who do no get their first pick of electives, Aaron explained that the staff works with the students whose schedules don’t allow for their first pick of electives to make changes to their schedules to allow them the best options possible.
Another position discussed was the vacant Agriculture position, which was readvertised recently in a number of venues both across the state and the nation. According to Glasl and Schirmer, who assisted in the search, there is currently a shortage of qualified candidates, which has made filling the position a challenge.
“We do want to hire an Ag teacher, we don’t want to not replace them, because I really feel that that is so important here at our school district, as well as that it’s going to continue to get bigger with the way that the government is providing for farmers.”
While the administration has not had any luck finding a candidate to fill the vacancy, they do have a plan to try to mitigate the situation until a new teacher can be found.
According to Glasl, an individual who has already been involved in the program and who was formerly a teacher in a parochial program, a number of years ago, has offered to help. The individual would not be available to teach full-time, due to other commitments, but would be able to cover some full days and some half days until a full-time teacher can be hired.
Mr. Phil Pezzuti and Mrs. Mindy Stoops of the Technology and Ag department would also help cover some classes.
“He and I taught a welding seminar at a conference in July to all of the Ag teachers in the state of Pennsylvania. He’s a very legitimate individual,” Shirmer said.
Before the Public Comments segment of the meeting, School Board President Molly Greenawalt announced the board had a statement to make that was “not open for discussion” but a “highlight” of contract negotiations with support staff.
“This is just a truthful report of the most recent district proposal and the highlights as they have been put forth to the union. The proposal included insurance that follows the teacher’s contract. That included increased deductibles with the same copays as the former contract, an average of a 50 cent per hour pay raise for existing employees, and a four dollar raise for new hires, and that raise went from an eight dollar an hour to a twelve dollar an hour starting salary. That is our update.”
Board member Mike Meals asked if Greenawalt was willing to share the “plan going forward” regarding any meetings with the union, but Greenawalt would not say.
During the public comments, the issue was revisited by several people in attendance.
“We have wondered what we need to do, other than come to work and work hard and be a team and be proud of what we do,” stated Robin Flack, a custodian with the school for over 20 years.
“We’ve not had a contract for over a year, so if you would just give me a minute and tell us what you want us to do, that we need to do that we’re not doing now to get that. I know sports are important and teachers are important, but so are the rest of us. All we’re asking for is just to meet, to sit down, talk, and try to work it out. Truly we are doing the best that we can do, and if there’s something that we’re not doing right or that you need us to change, just talk to us and let us know, and we’ll be happy to try to work it out.”
Jill Orcutt, a parent of students in the district and an aide for the district, also voiced some issues with the contract negotiations.
“I would like to reiterate what was said earlier that we would appreciate, the support personnel, having a face to face discussion. That respect was given to our teachers, a face to face meeting, but we have not had that for months. It has been done by email, and I find that belittling, to say the least,” Orcutt said.
“The next thing I’d like to say is about the $12 per hour, the increase for the new people. That’s wonderful, but what is going along with that is never to allow those people to achieve the rate that the rest of us achieve. So we are not being greedy with wanting more wages, at this point, we are looking out for the new hires because they will never, ever be able to make what we make an hour and that just doesn’t seem right.”
“With everything that is expected of the people the maintenance, you want them to be able to weld, you want them to be able to do all these things, most of the aids have to be highly qualified, which means we have some sort of college degree. It’s just not right. I understand what’s being put out to the newspapers and the public is ‘wow, look how good this looks, we’re taking them from $8 an hour to $12 an hour,’ but what’s not being said is that the new hires will never make the wage that the rest of us make.”
“We offered to give up our raise that was offered to us, that have been there and reached the pay rate. We offered to give that up to the new hires to help with that wage gap, but it was completely flatly denied. So we are trying to reach an agreement. We love the students of this district and we treat them like our own, and we don’t feel like we have been given the respect that we deserve with this negotiation.”
“I was very also displeased and disappointed that in a letter from the solicitor to our union rep, it was mentioned that the board could start seeking third-party bids for our positions. That was hurtful.”
In other business, the board:
- Approved the acceptance of the resignation of Jamie Simpson effective August 16, 2019 as an elementary school Title 1 Programs teacher.
- Approved the hire of Bridget Wingard as an elementary school teacher for the 2019-20 school year at a Bachelors Step 1 salary of $44,976, pending receipt of all required legal documentation.
- Approved the hire of Malissa Rankin as a child-specific aide for the 2019-20 school year at a rate as defined in the Clarion-Limestone Area Support Professionals Contract and pending receipt of all required legal documentation.
- Approved the hire of Paula Sharrar as a child-specific aide for the 2019-20 school year at a rate as defined in the Clarion-Limestone Area Support Professionals Contract and pending receipt of all required legal documentation.
- Approved supplemental contracts for the following mentor teachers for the 2019-20 school year, pending receipt of all required legal documentation:Kim Burkhart for Charles Turnbull, elementary teacher $ 792
Robin Cumpston for Bridget Wingard, elementary teacher $ 792
Linda Schirmer for Sydney Shick, Business-Computer-Information-Technology teacher $ 792
- Approved the following supplemental contracts for the 2019-20 school year, pending receipt of all required legal documentation:
Lorna Ondrasik Academic Sports League Advisor $916
Jesse Alden Academic Sports League Assistant Advisor $666
Christine Linnan Envirothon Advisor $666
Tina Bennett Choir Director $2,238
Tina Bennett Dance Team Advisor $ 889 Mickey Truman Play Drama Director $2,324
Christina Hall Play Technical Director $1,302
Jen Simpson Student Council Advisor $1,402
Tiffany Sloan Yearbook Advisor $2,157
Marissa Widmer National Honor Society Co-Advisor $414
Caitlin Holley National Honor Society Co-Advisor $264
Stacey Wiles Junior Class Co-Advisor $547
Jesse Alden Junior Class Co-Advisor $547
Jeff Standfest SAP Coordinator (High School) $2,022
Holly Pence Professional Development Coordinator (HS) $1,839
Jamie Grace Professional Development Coordinator (Elem) $1,839
Tracey Johnston Intramurals $588.50
Kris Hamilton Intramurals $588.50
Becky Whitling Intramurals $588.50
Melinda Cathcart Band Front Advisor $1,433
Sarah Hubauer Band Front Assistant Advisor $1,289
Jen Hubler Marching Band Director $3,463
Harrison Porter Assistant Boys Soccer Coach $1,382
Brandon Bell Assistant Boys Varsity Basketball Coach $3,120
ELEMENTARY DEPARTMENT CHAIRS
Stephanie Kalinowski Math Department $843
Mickey Truman Language Arts Department $843
Christy Runyan Reading Department $843
Robin Zacherl Science Department $843
Mike Bertoni Technology Department $843
Christina Hall Social Studies Department $843
SECONDARY DEPARTMENT CHAIRS
Holly Pence Math Department $843
Marissa Widmer Language Arts Department $843
David Sloan Social Studies Department $627
Justin Ochs Science Department $627
Linda Schirmer Business Education Department $627
Phil Pezzuti Vocational & Practical Arts Department $627
DEPARTMENT CHAIRS K-12
Tina Bennett Music (K-12) $627
Kenda Zerbe (co-chair) Art (K-12) $313.50
Liz Huwar (co-chair) Art (K-12) $313.50
Tracey Johnston Physical Education/Health/ Family & Consumer Sciences $627
- Approved the following after school detention supervisors for the 2019-20 school year:
- Approved the following game managers/workers for the 2019-20 school year:
- Approved the following weight room/after-school supervisors for the 2019-20 school year:
- Approved the substitute teacher, certified school nurse, and non- certified school nurse daily/hourly rate of pay for the 2019-20 school year: Teacher – $100/day (was $95/day), Certified School Nurse and Non-Certified School Nurse $16.00/hour.
- Approved the following day-to-day substitute list for the 2019-20 school year, pending receipt of all required legal documentation:
Bridge, Joshua – Social Studies
Fye, Rachel – Elementary
Griffith, Kelly – Elementary
Hubauer, Bonnie – Elementary
Kahle, Gary – Elementary
Lutz, Kelsey – Elementary
Smith, Nicole – Elementary
Wiles, Gracie – Elementary
Wimer, Danielle – Instructional Technology Specialist
Zahoran, Michol – Elementary, Middle School Language Arts, Special Education
Cumpston, Richard (custodian/tech)
- Approved Kelli Griffith as a long-term substitute kindergarten teacher beginning August 23, 2019, through approximately October 4, 2019, pending receipt of all required legal documentation.
- Approved the contracted service agreement for Crystal Siebka as school dental hygienist for the 2019-20 school year at a rate of $120 per day for up to 10 days (was $120 per day).
- Approved the appointment of Dr. Jeremy Jewell as school dental consultant for the 2019-20 school year with compensation only for services requested and provided.
- Approved a Contracted Service Agreement for Brian Caldwell to perform the service of bus/van video camera maintenance at a rate of $25.00 per hour beginning for the 2019-20 school year.
- Approved the bus transportation routes for the 2019-20 school year as presented.
- Approved athletics and school volunteers as presented for the 2019-20 school year, pending receipt of all required legal documentation.
- Approved the following Clarion County Sheriff’s Deputies to provide security assistance services to the Clarion-Limestone Area School District for the 2019-20 school year:
Munsee, Sheriff Rex
Graf, Mark D.
Theiss, Teddy “Lance”
- Approved the revisions to the 2019-20 high school student and elementary student handbooks and the revisions to the staff handbook.
- Approved a Memorandum of Understanding to the Clarion-Limestone Area Education Association Contract for the Elementary School SAP Coordinator supplemental contract.
- Approved a tuition student for the 2019-20 school year.
- Approved the following list of bus driver’s/van drivers for the 2019-20 school year for the listed contractors and approved as substitute drivers for other bus contractors, pending receipt of all required legal documentation and subject to a final review of all criminal record checks for all non-disqualifying offenses:
McElhattan, William “Bob”
Haines Transportation, Inc.
Hubauer, John (Jack)
Mauthe Busing, Inc.
Rossey, James (JR)
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