RCW settles two-year teacher contracts, OKs 2008 property tax levy
RENVILLE -- Employees at the Renville County West School District have settled two-year contracts with the school district. The school board approved agreements this week with the teachers and with non-union, non-certified staff members. The non-...
RENVILLE -- Employees at the Renville County West School District have settled two-year contracts with the school district.
The school board approved agreements this week with the teachers and with non-union, non-certified staff members. The non-union group includes paraprofessionals, food service employees, bus drivers and office personnel.
Teachers will receive a salary increase of 1.5 percent in the first year and 2 percent in the second year, said Superintendent Lance Bagstad.
The district will provide $200 more for insurance benefits in the first year and an additional $200 in the second year.
Non-union employees will receive raises of 2 percent in the first year and 2.5 percent in the second year. They will receive $100 more for insurance benefits in the first year and an additional $100 in the second year.
The district will phase out the retirement severance package, which is based on sick leave, in favor of a 403(b) retirement account for employees. The district will provide up to $500 a year in matching contributions for teachers but no match for non-union staff.
The salary schedule for teachers ends at 23 years, so the board approved additional pay for teachers who have been in the district longer than that. Teachers in the district 24, 25 or 26 years will receive $500 more each year, and those with 27 or more years of experience will receive $1,000 a year.
"We're rewarding staff who have been dedicated to the district," Bagstad said.
In other business, the board certified its 2008 property tax levy at $937,483.94, an increase of about $166,000 over last year. The increase comes from an excess levy approved by voters a year ago, Bagstad said.
The annual audit report yielded a positive report on the district's finances, Bagstad said. While revenue declined about $700,000 from the year before, the district was still able to add more than $108,000 to its general fund balance.
The district has built a general fund balance of a little more than $170,000 since leaving statutory operating debt a year ago, he said.
The board also received a progress report from the task force studying the district's facilities. The board has set a goal of serving all the district's students in one K-12 facility. The district now operates a secondary school in Renville and an elementary school in Sacred Heart. A middle school in Danube was closed several years ago.
The task force is considering two options: to remodel the existing high school in Renville and add on for elementary classes or to build a new K-12 school on the school grounds in Renville.
Remodeling and expansion is expected to cost about $9.5 million, and building a new building is expected to cost $16.5 million.
The task force is set to deliver a final recommendation by March. Some considerations in a final decision will be enrollment projections, expected operating costs and gauging community support for the two options.
The state has a rule that remodeling costs can't exceed 60 percent of the projected cost of a new facility, he said.
Whichever option is chosen, "we want this building to be a solid, viable facility for the next 30 to 40 years," Bagstad said.