The 2023-24 and 2024-25 working agreements for non-certified employees were approved by the Mabel-Canton School Board at its April 18 meeting.
Superintendent Gary Kuphal noted that sick leave will stay the same as in the past. The committee is recommending a $1.25/hour increase for all non-certified employees. For example, this will give paraprofessionals a starting wage of $15.00 and in 2024-25 the starting wage will be $16.25. According to Kuphal this is the largest increase ever. Longevity pay will remain a one-time one lump sum of $300. New in the contract is an optional 403B retirement pension for non-certified employees. The district will match the employee’s contribution up to $250 per year if they have been at the school 4-10 years. It was noted that it must be matched, and employees can contribute more. Non-certified employee pay will continue to be paid over the school year. New this year is a stipend for staff development.
The teachers’ union and the school have settled on a tentative agreement, announced Superintendent Gary Kuphal. He explained, “I mean that both sides have agreed in principle on the next contract. What the teachers need to do is to take a formal vote to approve it and it will come to the board, hopefully, next month for the board to approve it.”
Chairperson Adkins called the meeting of the Mabel-Canton School to order at 6 p.m. and led the board and audience in the Pledge of Allegiance. The board approved the meeting agenda with one addition under action/discussion items and the March 21 minutes.
Board members present included Cristal Adkins, Chris Miller, Diane Wilder, Mark Weidemann, Dustin Tollefsrud, and Traci McKenzie-Livingood. Jason Marquardt was absent.
The board unanimously approved the consent agenda, including the 2021-22 budget; claims report; $25 donation from an anonymous donor to the choir department in memory of LaDonna Brenno; resignation of Jodi Wagner, paraprofessional; and Brad Darling as softball volunteer.
Matthew McClimon, Student Council representative reported that the seniors’ trip to Washington D.C. is a long trip and that you get to see a lot, adding that Mr. Wyffels is very good at his job. Many memories were created that the seniors will never forget, and the class bond was strengthened. He ended his report by stating that “it was a good trip.”
The facilities and capital outlay committee will have a list of priorities for the board to approve at the May board meeting.
The Hiawatha Valley Education District (HVED) continues discussions on the mall in Winona with the goal of consolidating all HVED services under one roof. The organization study is completed, and the results will be presented on Tuesday, April 25 to all HVED staff, teachers, directors, board members, and superintendents.
Principal Michelle Weidemann thanked Collins Aerospace, Decorah, for hosting three eighth grade girls from Mabel-Canton at their Young Women in STEM event. The students toured the facility and did hands-on experiments, which was their favorite part of the day.
Kuphal reported that the school’s Iowa families received a letter in the mail indicating that the Decorah superintendent is not recommending that the school board extend the tuition agreement with Mabel-Canton. Kuphal plans to schedule a meeting with the 11 impacted families in the next couple of weeks to discuss any possible options that the district might have and that families might have.
Due to Monday’s snow day, Kuphal was asked if the school is in compliance with the state statute, to which he strongly replied “yes.” He reminded the board that the statute refers to days and hours of instruction. Kuphal explained that according to the statute the school must schedule 165 days or more and have a minimum of 1,020 hours of instruction. The school scheduled 173 days and is at 164 days due to 11 snow days, of which two have been made up. The school has 1,066 hours (six days) of instruction. The principal added that the staff will make up the day.
In other business, the board:
• Approved policy 535 relating to service animals in schools.
• Asked for volunteers to hand out diplomas at graduation. Both Miller and Wilder volunteered.
• Approved the resolution placing Tamitha Peter, a continuing contract/tenured teacher on an unrequested leave of absence for a .2 FTE reduction.
• Adjourned the meeting at 6:50 p.m.
The next school board meeting is scheduled for May 16 at 6 p.m. The meeting will be held in Mrs. Peter’s science room, #50. The public is welcome to attend.