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School pay hikes approved

December 19, 2018

New salary schedules for various employee groups in the Watertown Unified School District were approved by the board of education during its meeting Monday.

The professional teaching staff pay increase will be 2.13% which is the increase in the consumer price index as determined by the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission.

The increase will be distributed on an equal flat dollar amount per teacher which this year is $1,213. Each teacher will receive that increase, retroactive to the start of the school year.

The board of education, in negotiations with the United Lakewood Educators, representing the teachers, were unable to reach a voluntary agreement and as a result, imposed this increase under state law.

The clerical and support staff, and nutrition services staff also represented by the teachers union, reached a voluntary settlement which also calls for a 2.13% increase in the schedule.

All other positions, including the administrative staff, computer technicians, custodians, and cleaners, executive assistants, instructional paraprofessionals, maintenance, nutrition services production managers, special education paraprofessionals, supervisors and the truancy abatement officer will all also be awarded an increase of 2.13% in the pay schedule and base wage.

The board approved the 2017-18 audit which was performed by the accounting firm of Hawkins, Ash CPAs. Chuck Krueger conducted the report and said the district is in a “good position financially from a fund balance perspective.”

In other business, the board heard from Superintendent of Schools Dr. Cassandra Schug reported on safety drill evaluations and school security assessments.

“This is a new statute state requirement that the board reviews our safety drill evaluations,” Schug said to members of the board. “We do these safety drill evaluations every year, this is just your first opportunity to see them. We have been doing quarterly scenario-based drills that are in accordance with our new safety protocols that are common sense-based in nature.”

A video was shown to students in grades third through t12th about the new safety protocols. Schug pointed out the Nightlock lockdown boxes at three doors in the room at the Educational Service Center, which she said each classroom is equipped with to prevent entry.

“We also have magnets at each of our schools which allow the staff to keep the doors locked at all times but the door is still able to be entered and exited,” Schug said.

She added in her presentation that some areas have been identified that could be improved with safety grant dollars and a safety team is in the process of revising the current safety plan to reflects the new protocols.

Director of Business Services Brittany Altendorf presented the fiscal management report. She said the district is requesting proposals for its financial and human resource software. Two out of the three vendors sent back an answer.

Altendorf said her office has reviewed the final sheet for the 2018-19 budget.

“I informed the board that per the budget, we’ll have a $900,000 surplus, that is due to the referendum,” Altendorf said.

Two other resolutions on the agenda were approved by members of the board. They include a $5,000 contract with Associated Benefits and Risk Consulting to review the district’s health insurance program and approval of the 2019-20 high school program of studies.

Several appointments to various positions were also approved by the board.

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