W-M School Board approves contracts for Superintendent, support professionals

WMHS LogoThe Watertown-Mayer School Board approved new contracts for Superintendent Dave Marlette and for the district’s educational support professionals during its meeting on Monday, Nov. 25.

Marlette’s new three-year contract includes a total increase of $10,838 over the next three years, an increase of 2.07 percent. The increase for the 2013-14 school year is just $838, or 0.49 percent. The bulk of the increase comes in 2014-15 and 2015-16, with a $5,000 raise each year, roughly 2.9 percent each time.

Marlette’s salary has been frozen since he came to the district in 2011. He has, however, received several performance bonuses based on the positive reviews he has received from the School Board each of the last two years.

The district’s support professionals have also had frozen contracts for at least the last three years. The new contract — which will be the first for the support staff — includes a total two-year increase of $109,310.39, or a 5.049 percent change for the roughly 50 employees.

Marlette said the biggest challenge in the seven or eight negotiational meetings with Education Minnesota Watertown-Mayer Educational Support professionals is that this was the first contract, so everything had to be written from scratch. One of the biggest sticking points for each side was in regards to seniority, which the support staff wanted to be offered, but the school district didn’t want to give.

In the end, Marlette said middle ground was reached in that staff members with at least three years of experience and who have received tenure will be eligible for seniority based on a new review system. Support staff will now receive an annual performance review, similar to teachers, in order to help better gauge areas of strength and areas for potential growth.

The new contract calls for a 4.23 percent raise this year, which will cost the district $41,254.30, and a 6.69 percent raise next year, which will cost $68,056.09.

Board member Jennifer Janikula questioned the large percentage of the raises, which are bigger than the roughly 3 percent raises in the new teachers’ contract. Marlette said the percentages skewed high because the total dollar amounts for these contracts are much lower than the teachers’ contracts, making the percentages a bit higher.

 

In other business;

• The board unanimously voted to approve a resolution supporting a traffic-open staged construction process for the city of Watertown’s bridge reconstruction project next year. The city had asked for the district’s input as to whether it would rather have the bridge closed during the summer and re-opened in time for school, or if it would rather have a longer project that would stretch into the school year, but would leave traffic open throughout the duration of the project.

Marlette said his own preference would be to leave traffic open, and the School Board agreed.

“A lot of people think we’re only open from September through May,” Marlette said. “That couldn’t be further from the truth. We have very busy summers here. We have a lot of programs going on, our summer school, our extended school year program, so we’re going back and forth all the time. Even during the summer, if that bridge was totally closed down, it would mean a lot to us having to go around.”

• The board approved the hire of fellow board member Jennifer Janikula to design, formulate and produce the school district’s newsletter for the 2013-14 school year. Marlette said he and Janikula had meet with an outside person who does such things for a living, but the rate would have been much higher than the $1,925 that it will pay Janikula.

A board vote was not needed for the hire, but Janikula, who abstained from the vote, said she wanted to be as transparent as possible.

 

Contact Matt Bunke at matt.bunke@ecm-inc.com

 
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