M’ville expected to ratify contract with teachers

MARYSVILLE – The Marysville School Board was expected to approve a contract with the Marysville Education Association Thursday evening.

The board met Tuesday to hear a summary of the contract. The teachers approved it Aug. 30.

Normally a two-year union pact, this one is for one year because of continued uncertainty with state budgeting for schools.

“There are so many unknowns,” Human Resources director Jason Thompson said.

He said both sides compromised. “Neither side got everything they wanted. I appreciate the concessions made to build mutual trust between district leadership and teaching staff. Our goal is to attract and retain quality teachers.”

Finance director Mike Sullivan said later the average wage for teachers in the district will be $80,000, including benefits.

Sullivan went over the state budget, saying despite an expected 205 fewer students, the district will receive $8.5 million more from the state.

“But we have to spend the money a certain way,” he said.

For employees, the district will get $2.15 million more for cost-of-living adjustments. “We got a lot of money, but we pay more than we get,” Sullivan said.

The state is paying the district $2.8 million more to lower class size, and $3.35 million more for special education, vocation and learning assistance.

The district had hoped to add 17 new classes for K-3, but ended up settling for 14 because specialists, librarians and counselors for those classes were “underfunded,” Sullivan said. So the classes will have 19 students, instead of 17. On another topic, board member Chris Nation questioned why there is no leeway in the school calendar. Graduations start as early as possible.

“Why put it so close to the deadline?” he asked. “If there’s a snow day it would have to change,” he added, referring to graduation.

Superintendent Becky Berg interjected that there is one snow day built into the calendar, on May 25.

Nation questioned why a snow day isn’t built into first semester, when it would be needed because that is when it would be more likely to happen.

Thompson said it is hard to find a day available because of all the time off already for the November and December holidays. It can also be hard to find makeup days second semester because of all the state testing days. The availability of Xfinity Arena also is a concern.

Nation wondered what could be done to have kids in class more. He mentioned possibly cutting professional development to twice a month.

In other school board news:

•Thompson said the district was still hiring teachers Tuesday. “There’s a lot of movement statewide,” he said.

•Calvary Chapel donated $2,550 to Liberty Elementary to pay for backpacks and school supplies for the needy.

•Pre-school and kindergarten start in the district Monday.