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Light at end of contract tunnel

December 3, 2013
By KATIE SCHWENDEMAN - Staff Writer ( , Morning Journal News

EAST PALESTINE - A new contract may be imminent for East Palestine teachers.

A special board of education meeting is set for Dec. 11, and Superintendent George Fisk confirmed Monday the meeting is related to the ongoing union negotiations.

The board met in regular session Monday and scheduled the special meeting, after which Fisk was asked if an agreement could be expected. He said he is hopeful that will happen.

Teachers have been working on an old contract since the start of the school year in late August. The two-year contract included a base wage freeze and 10 percent contribution on health care.

Negotiations began in May and have included a mediator and committee that consists of two to three teachers from each school building, the principals and Fisk.

The special meeting was set for 6 p.m. Dec. 11 and board member Sue Weigle said an executive session will also be held during that meeting. What the session will be called for was not discussed.

On other matter, the district is looking to the community for input on how it can be improved.

Fisk said the district leadership team (DLT) met in October and developed a short survey that was handed out to community members at the parent-teacher conferences last week.

More than 50 people responded to the survey at the conferences, and the district's goal is 2,000 responses, he added.

The survey consists of 23 questions, and answers are based on "strongly agree" to "strongly disagree." The questions touch on quality of education, technology, safety, and support being offered to students, if the district is doing a good job with regards to community involvement, and the spending of tax dollars, and whether it has a beneficial impact on property values.

The final question is, "Overall, what grade would you give the East Palestine School District?" With the answer being A through F.

A brief comment section is also provided.

Fisk said once surveys are completed the DLT will use that data to decide "which direction to take" with regards to the district.

In other business, the board approved:

- Non-renewing fall supplemental contracts for athletic coaches at the end of the 2013-14 season for Denise Pickett, Jim Young, Will Franklin, Trey McKim, Eric Barone, Bonnie Sansenbaugher, Lance Peterson, Ryan Dilworth, Larry Hoffmeister, Shane Jurjavcic, Scott Wolfe, Bob Hall, Jerry Coblentz, Rob Patterson, Korie Beight, Janelle Montgomery.

- Lindsay Gatchel and Ryan Grubb as substitute teachers, Jessica Maxwell as substitute nurse, and Shirley Birnesser as substitute aide.

- Maternity leave for Lindsay Wollet, high school English teacher for end of the 2013-14 school year. She will return to the district for the 2014-15 school year.

- Supplemental contracts for the 2013-14 school year for Jim Young, high school boys track coach, Bonnie Sansenbaugher, middle school girls track coach and Brian Geiss, assistant high school track coach, and additional supplemental contracts for John Stephens, high school girls track, and Jimmy Young, middle school boys track.

- Ron Navarra, as volunteer high school diving coach. The district has one student involved in diving, Fisk said, and practices are held off campus.

- Open enrollment for a Beaver Local 12th grade student.

- The October financial report. The district's overall fund balance as of that month was $2.72 million, with year-to-date receipts under expenditures by $201,743.

- An amended certificate of estimated resources for the 2013-14 school year totaling $15.2 million.

- A resolution revising appropriations for the 2013-14 school year.

A reorganizational meeting was set for 6 p.m. Jan. 6.



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