EL-G board approves new teacher pact

by Abby Lynn Harvey of the Review Staff

ELKHART LAKE - The Elkhart Lake-Glenbeulah School Board fi- nalized base-wage negotiations with the teachers union at their June 18 meeting.

Due to new legislation put into place by Gov. Scott Walker’s 2011 Budget Repair Bill, the union’s collective bargaining rights have been limited. Wage increases under this legislation must not exceed a cap based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI), unless approved by a referendum.

The union voluntarily submitted to a pay freeze last year. To avoid confusion with the handling of negotiations under the new legislation, theboardapproveda0percentbase-payraisefortheupcomingcontract year. By doing so they avoid any future confusion while the details of new legislation are ironed out.

However, the board retains the power to compensate employees with stipends while avoiding any future legislative confusion. A $1,200 stipend per employee was approved with the 0 percent base-pay increase. This stipend is less than the base-pay increase that the CPI would have allowed.

What this does, said District Administrator Ann Buechel Haack, is allow the district to use the upcoming contract year as a transition period to adjust to the new laws surrounding the unions and to develop a positive relationship with the union moving forward.

Buechel Haack emphasized that this system will not be the new standard but is a tool to allow the district to develop a more permanent solution, as well as a buffer between the district and any new developments that may come out of Madison. The board expressed their gratitude to the staff for their flexibility and understanding in the matter.

The board passed a preliminary budget for the 2012-2013 year. With the exclusion of the funds for the roofing project, the estimated loss of 10 students and an assumed cut to state aid of 15 percent, the budget was increased by slightly more than $28,168, or .45 percent.

When the funds from the roofing project are included, the total increase over last year’s budget is $227,452, or 3.64 percent.

This will increase the mill rate to 7.16, up from 7.02 last year. This rate, however, is lower than the rates in both the 2009-10 and 2010-11 years.

This is only a preliminary budget, as most figures needed to calculate the exact budget will not be available for several months.

The board approved a bid by Crafts Inc. of Manitowoc for the roof replacement project. The bid came in almost $18,000 below the next closest bid at $684,923. The price difference was attributed to scheduling and a need for work.

Because the project could not be started until after the spring referendum was approved, many companies would have had difficulty meeting the project schedule, which was reflected in the bids.

Work is scheduled to begin June 25 - a week ahead of schedule - and be completed by Aug. 17.

An update was provided on summer maintenance projects, most of which have been completed. Completed projects include paving and painting the parking lots and replacing the carpeting in the senior lounge.

Projects still in progress include replacing the carpeting in the IMC, replacing the high school PA system and painting the locker room lockers.

The next meetings of the Elkhart Lake-Glenbeulah school board will be held at 7 p.m. on Monday, July 16.

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