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Charles City increases pay, adds incentives for substitute teachers

By James Grob,

Superintendent Mike Fisher told the Charles City School District Board of Directors on Monday that a substitute teacher shortage has been a perpetual problem for Charles City, and that problem became worse after the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak.

“We wanted to look at some financial incentives,” Fisher said. “We had found that our sub pay was actually lower than more than half the school districts in our area.”

At Fisher’s recommendation, the board unanimously approved an increase in pay and added incentives for substitute teachers, increasing the daily sub rate to $125 per day, with an annual automatic increase based on the teacher pay raise as set in negotiations.

The district will also now provide an innovative retention bonus. For every 30 days that a substitute works in the district, he or she would receive a cash bonus of $500.

Fisher said that a Substitute Teacher Task Force led by Director of Finance Evan Marten has developed strategies on how the district can positively impact the substitute teacher shortage.

“We had current teachers, substitute teachers and leadership on this team,” Fisher said. “They brought real feedback and brainstormed ideas. We did an exercise to determine which ideas would have the most impact. “

Marten said he found areas in the budget that can support the changes financially in a cost-neutral manner.

In other business on Monday, the board requested supplemental state aid in the amount of $302,512.55 for the fiscal year 2021 negative special education balance.

Marten told the board he had completed the special education supplement report for the Department of Education while completing the certified annual report. The district may request allowable growth and supplemental aid for a negative balance by going to the school budget review committee (SBRC).

Marten said that the deficit decreased by $271,029.87 as compared to last year, when the deficit was $573,542.42.

The board also approved the the appointment of the 2021-2022 School Improvement Advisory Committee (SIAC) on Monday.

Membership will be Michellel Jones, student board member; students Anders Haglund and Shemhiah Lara; parents Brandi Johnson Veronica Litterer, Heather Faulkner and Janet Hansen; staff Katelyn Stultz and Michelle Williams; community member Carter Melrose; Superintendent Mike Fisher; Dana Sullivan, CCMS associate principal; and Jody Osier, Immaculate Conception teacher

SIAC meeting dates for 2021-2022 will be Oct. 13, Dec. 8, Feb. 9 and April 13.

In other business Monday, the board:

— Heard from Middle School Principal Joe Taylor and Instructional Coach Sheila Etherington, who made a presentation to the board about the benefits of Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) testing and how it strategically fits within the district’s mission and vision.

— Approved allowing Jerry Mitchell, director of operations, to seek bids to replace roofing at the North Grand Building. Mitchell said that there is funding now available, via federal COVID-19 funds, to replace the entire east end of the roof faster than originally planned. He estimated the cost will be between $325,000 to $375,000.

— Approved the appointment of James Lundberg, CCHS Span of Care culture leader, in the amount of $500, effective Sept. 27.

— Approved the appointment of Alyssa Naumann, Innovative Campus Span of Care culture leader, in the amount of $500, effective Sept. 27.

— Approved the appointment of Gayle Opp, Learning Connection parent educator, at a wage of $23.50 per hour, effective Sept. 27.

— Approved the appointment of Laura Smith, assistant varsity girls basketball coach, at a salary of $3,630, effective Sept. 27.

— Approved the personnel transfer of Cassie Michaels, from Washington para-educator to Lincoln para-educator.

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