Little Falls School Board approves at-will and teacher compensation

By Tina SnellStaff Writer

The Little Falls School Board voted to approve the work agreements for the Education Minnesota Little Falls (EMLF) teachers for two years beginning July 1, and ending June 30, 2015.

The Little Falls Activities Director and Human Resources Director Aaron Sinclair said the negotiations went very well with both groups. He said the members were cognizant of the financial burdens of the district and both sides came away from the table satisfied with the outcome.

Salaries for the EMLF teachers’ group were $9.9 million for the 2012-13 school year. Retiree and severance pay came to $195,340; extra duty pay was $405,449; and professional leave incentive was a little more than $20,000.

The total came to just more than $10.54 million.

For the 2013-14 school year, the new contract shows an increase of $282,193, or 2.7 percent. For the 2014-15 school year, wages will increase another $489,723, or 4.5 percent.

Benefits for the 2012-13 school year were $3.12 million. Those numbers increase in 2013-14 to $3.29 million, or by 5.6 percent. The agreed-upon contract increases benefits again for the 2014-15 school year by another 3.57 percent to $3.4 million.

The total package in 2012-13 was $13.7 million. That increases in the current school year to $14.12 million, or by 3.35 percent. For the 2014-15 school year, the total contract with EMLF comes to $4.73 million, or another 4.3 percent increase.

“Other districts were impressed when I told them we were done with our negotiations,” said Board Chair Sharon Ballou. She told them that Little Falls only hires the best teachers, making negotiations run smoothly.

The one-year contract for at-will employees, which include the assistant business manager, Early Childhood and Family Education coordinator and teacher; network administrator; lead network-desktop technician; high school office manager; human resource generalist; special education program assistant; mental health behavioral aide, transportation coordinator and driver; and digital learning specialist was also approved.

For the 2012-13 school year, the at-will employees’ package was $1.21 million. After negotiations for the 2013-14 school year, the package decreased to $934,242, resulting in a savings of $278,268. The decrease is due to fewer at-will personnel employed by the district. The average increase for both salary and benefits came to 1.28 percent.

Little Falls School Board briefs 

Other business conducted by the Little Falls School Board Monday night included:

• Resolving to issue an employee of the district a notice of proposed discipline. The details of the allegations, the investigation and the proposed discipline are private personnel data under the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act, and will not be released until final disposition of the proposed disciplinary action;

• Accepting gifts from the Just Give Organization ($60) to the Link Program; Terracycle Inc. ($300) to the Recycling Fund at the Community Middle School; and Jessica and William Nutz ($25) and Janice Mohler ($10) to the Summer Camp Program at Lincoln Elementary;

• Learning the city of Little Falls approved the rezoning of the district’s compound to B3, allowing a digital sign to be utilized on the property;

• Voting to authorize aid anticipation borrowing of $3 million, about half of the $5.86 million borrowed last year. Business Manager Nancy Henderson said while the state delays aid payments, the district still needs to cover its expenses. The resolution states the interest will not exceed 3 percent per year;

• Voting to employ Stephanie Andres as a math teacher at the High School; Susan Benjamin, as a science teacher at the middle school; Eric LeBlanc as an industrial technology teacher at the high school; Todd Toulouse as dean of students at the middle school; Mark Wolters as an English teacher at the high School; Michelle Young, art teacher at the high school and Heather Ziemer, art teacher at the middle school;

• Accepting the resignations of Jeff Massmann as head boys track and field coach; Kathy Paradeis as head speech coach at the middle school; and Wendy Rutz as a Kids Korner paraprofessional at Lincoln Elementary;

• Voting to renew membership with the Minnesota School Board Association ($6,902) and with the Minnesota Rural Education Association ($2,400); and

• Moving the Board retreat to Tuesday.

The School Board’s next meeting will be held at the Morrison County Government Center Monday, Aug. 19, at 5 p.m.