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Neighbors Growing Together | Jul 24, 2014

Classified subs to see larger paycheck at New London schools

Feb 21, 2013

By STEPH TAHTINEN

Mt. Pleasant News

NEW LONDON — Substitutes for classified staff in the New London Community School District will now be earning more than minimum wage.

Tuesday night, the New London School Board voted to set substitute wages at the first step on the salary scale for that position.

“We have a hard time finding subs, and when we do find a sub, oftentimes they’ll go elsewhere because they’ll get something for $8 an hour,” said Superintendent Steve McAllister. “Most places I’ve been, if you hire somebody, you hire them at the beginning step of that salary schedule, and that’s what you pay them.”

For example, said McAllister, if a substitute bus driver is hired, the district pays them what a bus driver earns their first year on the job.

“I think we’d use that same philosophy if we have to hire somebody in the kitchen,” said McAllister. “So we just need to be consistent across the board.”

The new hourly wages for substitutes, which went into effect Wednesday, are as follows:

Library, classroom special education associate: $7.59

Paraeducator AA or higher: $8.25

Food service, part-time secretary: $8.00

Custodian: $8.70

Secretary, head custodian, kitchen manager: $9.70

These wages are current for the 2012-2013 school year, and could change if the school board changes the scale in the future.

“Depending on what you do with that salary scale, that will change from year-to-year if you, of course, increase the base,” said McAllister.

School board member Dennis Carter questioned making this move due to budgetary reasons.

“Every year we look at ways to cut, to save money, and we look at a lot of different things. This isn’t going to help,” said Carter. “I don’t know how much we’re looking at this making additional cost. I know every year we’re down to pennies, looking for ways to save some.”

“It’s not going to break us,” said Jessica Boyer, school board secretary.

School Board President Laurie Hempen said that many other school districts are looking at the rates they pay substitutes.

School Board Member Travis Benz commented that the district might spend less time calling around trying to find a substitute.

“Despite the slight additional cost, it’s the right thing to do,” said McAllister.

McAllister commented that the budget might not be so drastic this year because of a $1.4 billion surplus at the state level and some of that money coming to the district.

“I’m not saying that there’s going to be lots of extra dollars, but we certainly are going to have some choices,” said McAllister.

He also noted that the district had applied to the School Budget Review Committee and due to allowable growth and an increase in student enrollment, the district will be getting an additional $75,000 in revenue.

McAllister also brought the idea before the board of closing the districts Iowa Communications Network (ICN) room.

“It’s antiquated technology for us. We don’t use it, it’s a space that we’d like to use for other things,” said McAllister.

He noted that the district would keep its ICN connection, as it uses the ICN as the backbone for its Internet service.

At this point, the item was only up for discussion. McAllister will be looking into more details.

In other business, the board:

• Approved the district calendar for the 2013-2014 school year. The first day of school will be Thursday, Aug. 22.

• Passed a resolution to request that the Iowa Legislature set a 4 percent allowable growth rate for the 2013-2014 and 2014-2015. McAllister noted that all public schools in Iowa are being encouraged to pass this resolution and give it to legislators.

• Approved the resignations of Samantha Strothman, middle school special education 1:1 associate, and Linda Steier, middle school special education 1:1 associate.

• Approved the appointments of Maureen Heath, head high school volleyball coach; Karen Stewart, assistant high school volleyball coach; Brooke Snyder, middle school special education 1:1 associate; Karen Wilkins, high school special education 1:1 associate; and Elizabeth Daugherty, middle school special education 1:1 associate.

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