Royalton School Board members reject teachers’ contract with a 5 – 1 vote

By Liz Verleyk, Staff Writer

On a 2 – 4 vote the Royalton School Board rejected the teachers’ contract that was presented for adoption Tuesday.

The Board did approve the two-year contract for Royalton Education Support Professionals (RESP) on a 5 – 1 vote, but rejected the Royalton Educators Minnesota (REM) contract with Directors Tom Justin, Michelle Carlson, Jim Block and Ron Borash voting no. Justin voted against the RESP contract.

The RESP contract approved, includes a two-year package totaling approximately $16,494. RESP represents the district’s 26 paraprofessionals.

Justin read a statement saying the contracts as proposed were not what the committee had been directed to negotiate.

Director Don Lindberg, a member of the negotiating committee said, “The numbers are there to support the increase for the teachers. If this is not approved we will be going to arbitration. I don’t think anything is out of bounds here. I don’t know how the public will perceive this but I will support both packages.”

The entire teachers’ package for the two-year contract (2011-2013) would cost the district $194,000. Of that amount, $139,000 has already been worked into the budget for the steps and lanes increases and other benefits. The package includes salary and other benefits such as retirement, insurance, etc. REM represents the district’s 57 teachers.

Block said, “I have been on the School Board for two years and each year we have had to make cuts of $200,000 and $300,000. I don’t know if I can support this. It has not been a fun two years.”

Borash, who is also on the negotiating committee said, “If we were behind in pay for our teachers I could support it but that is not the way it is.”

Members of REM had already approved the contract before Tuesday’s Board meeting

Following its meeting, the Board went into a closed session to discuss negotiation strategy.

Royalton School Board briefs

In other business Tuesday, the Royalton School Board:

• Approved hiring Evan Warnet as assistant varsity wrestling coach, Erin Chis-holm as elementary yearbook adviser, Wade Cruzer as volunteer wrestling coach, Boyd Snyder as junior high boys basketball coach, and Kathy Knettel and April Lange as paraprofessionals;

• Accepted donations of $200 from the Royalton Lions for the senior high choir to attend a Gopher men’s basketball game to sing the National Anthem and $2,500 from Centra Care for the rock climbing wall;

• Approved the 2011-2012 audit;

• Approve the Project Green School Bus Retrofit agreement;

• Approved a resolution supporting the application to the Minnesota State High School League for a grant;

• Approved a list of surplus property to be sold on K-Bid or other means;

• Set Monday, Jan. 14, 2013, as the Board’s organizational meeting. The meeting will be held at 7:30 p.m.; and

• Set Wednesday, Nov. 28,  as a work session date. The meeting will be held in the media classroom at 4 p.m.

The next regular board meeting will be held Monday, Dec. 10, at 7:30 p.m.