School Board Notes

School Board Meeting Notes – 04/26/17

7:00 pm, WFBHS.  Anne Kearney instructed the 20+ community members in the audience about the procedure for public comment and emphasized that the Board was NOT going to be voting on staffing tonight.

Organizational Meeting.

The Board welcomed new member, W Brett Christiansen.  Anne Kearney was elected President, Kristin Yunker was elected VP and Clerk and Doug Armstrong was elected Treasurer.

Personnel & Policy Committee Meeting.

  • Salaries for classroom teachers in WFB:  Yde said range is $43,000 to $83,000 (relative to experience).  Average for a brand new teacher in this area is $41,000.
  • A significant change: Four library/media center secretaries will now be categorized as Paraprofessional I.  They will no longer get paid vacation (although they will get paid for what they’ve earned so far) and their hours have already been cut to 5.75 per day.
  • 2017-18 Staffing FTE’s (Full-Time Employment).  The staffing changes that are proposed are due to enrollment. State law requires that teachers receive notification of economic non-renewal by May 15th. Enrollment is declining due to the 220 program phase out and other factors.  The Board stated that class size is very important.  The enrollment numbers from November see a decrease of 60 students at Richards Elementary.  The Board will be issuing economic non-renewals to three teachers, including elimination of  a Richards 3rd grade teacher.
    • Superintendent Thomsen says the Board is issuing the economic non-renewals to “position the Board to add staff later if necessary.”  Thomsen and the other members of the Board repeatedly stated that this is very preliminary and setting the low end.  Yde stated that the non-renewals “came to the attention of people who do not understand our process.”  Board member Bencik-Boudreau asked the Board how information to the general public can be disseminated so there is better understanding.  Thomsen replied that they can read the School Board minutes. (If any of you have read the School Board minutes, you know they are not terribly detailed and are not available on a timely basis.)
    • After May 15th, the Board can only add (not cut) full time staff but they can both add and cut part time staff.  They also said they would reach out to the “let go” teachers to come back if we need to add staff. This could happen as early as June but could be as late as August. The Board will vote on the staffing FTE’s at the May 10, 2017 meeting.

Public comments

The first comment was from the Middle School library secretary about the handbook revision that would make her job classification go to Para I.  All the other comments (12 or 13 in all) were in reference to cutting a 3rd grade teacher at Richards.  The citizens implored the Board to reconsider.  They cited class size, demographics (not just numbers), personal experience with the current 2nd grade class, increased teacher expectations and student needs.  One parent asked that if the decrease is due to phasing out of 220 program, are we proactively working on replacing the lost students?  Also she commented that communication needs to be better and to happen sooner.

Instruction Committee

Elementary Time Study Report Update- Maria Kucharski shared the results of the study.  Click here for her report.

  • Survey Results- i.e. common team time (60 minutes/day) for collaboration and 2 recesses/day valued; met 70% of priorities
  • Refinements based on results: i.e. maintain face-to-face world language in 1st grade and up, no language lab in 1st grade, to be evaluated at other grades.
  • More to do: rename “specials” to “encore” so they are viewed as part of our core classes; common planning time for encore and special education teachers.

Equity and Excellence Update- John, Maria, Stacy reported on the work of the Closing the Achievement Gap Consortium which consists of 22 public/private schools which meet at Concordia.  Click here for their report, which includes DPI recommendations.  Recent census shows that school district is slightly more diverse than WFB village.

Board Learning- – Doug Armstrong read an insightful reflection on one of the Seven Thriving Dispositions: Effective Oral & Written Communication Skills.

Meeting adjourned 10:48pm.

Please note that these are unofficial school board meeting notes taken by an AFE board representative.  For full transcript of notes, click here.