October 18, 2008 in Voices

EV ratifies contract with teachers

By The Spokesman-Review

East Valley school trustees ratified a new contract with its teachers during Tuesday night’s board meeting.

They agreed to increase the experience stipends for teachers who have been with the district for more than 20 years and also agreed for the first time to pay teachers with a master’s degree a stipend of $400.

“We’d asked for that every year,” said East Valley Education Association president Con Mealey. “I think every other district has it.”

A lot of the negotiations focused on cleaning up the contract language, he said. “I think it’s a really good contract.”

During the meeting, several board members clashed over the board goals for the year. The five goals address increasing student achievement, maintaining a healthy budget and regularly seeking community input.

Board member Roger Trainor pointed out that the goals were created at a meeting with only three of the five members in attendance. “I’m very disappointed with this board,” he said. “We need to accommodate all the board members. This is a five-member board. We need to function as a five-member board.”

Trainor and board member Mike Harris argued for the need for having such meetings in the evening, not during the day.

Board member Mitch Jensen argued, in turn, that board members need to make a commitment to attend all meetings despite jobs or other activities. Jensen also pulled out his calendar and pointed out that there have been recent night meetings that Trainor didn’t attend and a morning meeting at which Harris arrived a few minutes late. The night meetings included a community forum about the district’s attempts to pass a bond.

The goals, along with performance goals for Superintendent John Glenewinkel, were supposed to be passed in August. The board discussed delaying the vote to allow more input, but decided to move ahead. The goals passed with Trainor and Harris voting against them. “We have a fabulous district here,” said board president Kerri Lunstroth. “Everyone wants to move forward.”

In other business, the board also changed the district’s medication policy to allow students to carry inhalers and “epi pens” with written permission from a doctor.

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