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Tuesday, October 28th, 2008

Minster schools classified employees get raise

It is the same wage and benefit package teachers received

By Margie Wuebker
MINSTER - Classified employees at Minster Local Schools will receive the same wage and benefit package given to teachers as a result of unanimous action taken by the board of education Monday night.
They will receive a 3 percent salary increase the first year and a 2.85 percent increase the second year. The classified employees are janitors, bus drivers, cafeteria workers and others without a teaching certificate.
Like the teachers, the classified staff will pay more for insurance although the current 5 percent rate remains in effect through Dec. 31. The contribution rate climbs to 6.5 percent next year and 7.5 percent for the period of Jan. 1-June 30, 2010.
Classified employees are not represented by a union like the teachers, who ratified a contract earlier this month. However, wage and benefit concessions typically mirror those approved for the certified staff at Minster.
Treasurer Laura Klosterman presented a detailed explanation of the district's five-year financial forecast calling the document a work in progress.
"This is a moving document and one that changes constantly," she added.
While she did not mention specific figures, the forecast provided to those in attendance shows estimated revenue of $8.1 million during fiscal year 2009 with projected expenditures of $7.9 million. Deficit spending is anticipated in fiscal year 2010 with the district spending $54,556 more than it takes in.
Board member Kurt Forsthoefel said numbers suggest a 1.3 percent increase in revenue as compared to a 10 percent increase in expenditures. Klosterman shook her head in agreement, adding shipping costs continue to go up as companies pass on high diesel cost adjustments to customers.
She noted the district received a pleasant surprise in the wake of the triennial update. Valuation increased 7.8 percent while many school districts throughout the state experienced little if any change.
In other action, the board:
• Received an update regarding a federal audit of the now-defunct community school. Superintendent Gayl Ray indicated there has been no word on the outcome but she expects to hear something in December or January. The district could be ordered to repay some of the funds it received through state and federal grants.
• Accepted donations of $50 from an anonymous source and $250 from The Dannon Company earmarked for the Student Advisory Committee. A $2,000 appropriation account was set up for the group along with the transfer of funds from the now-defunct Students Against Destructive Decisions.
• Learned high school students raised $613.45 - or just over 31,000 pennies - for the Juvenile Diabetes Association. The highlight of the effort was the "penny stall" when classes were delayed as teachers counted coins brought in by students.
• Approved one-year supplemental contracts to Mike Lee, Mary Muhlenkamp and Cathy Richard as junior class co-advisers and Ryan Geise, junior high girl's basketball coach. The co-advisers oversee concession stand activities, a major fundraising effort for the class. Also approved were the following volunteer coaching positions: Roger Boeke, assistant high school boys varsity basketball, and Matt Quinter, freshman girls basketball.
• Set Nov. 17 at 8 p.m. as the date and time for the next meeting at the high school conference room.
• Met in executive session to discuss employment and compensation of a public employee. No action was taken following the closed-door discussion.
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Additional online story on this date
ST. MARYS - Recent blips in electric service have put 2008 ahead in electric interruptions over the 13 run up in 2007. The city's electric system department credits most outages to scampering and inquisitive squirrels and raccoons, now, of course, deceased. [More]
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