The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Board discusses separation of coaching, non-instructional pay from benefits


Jan Tucker/Daily Globe

Students in the sixth grade class of the Ontonagon Area School, under the direction of Linda Johnson, had a special demonstration for the Ontonagon Area School Board on Monday. Johanson said the class, following guidelines, had to learn to move simultaneously in two parts of the body in rhythmical positions. They learned line dancing, creating their own dance and how to teach it to others. They then performed for the student body. The program helps cardiovascular health, self body awareness and control, among other advantages.

ONTONAGON — The Ontonagon Area Board of Education Monday agreed to ask for bids on all non-instructional Ontonagon Teacher Education Association schedule B positions.

Superintendent Gray Webber said the board has been trying to reach an agreement with the education association to separate coaching and non-instructional pay from fringe and retirement benefits for the past three years.

“We could not reach that agreement and will institute it ourselves,” he said, adding many other school districts have done the same thing.

Webber said cost savings “should allow the district to keep all extracurricular programs and services available to our students.”

Board member Nancy Mattson said the district has asked parents to pay part of the cost for sports and the Booster Club has also paid part of the cost and that action is another way to keep the programs alive.

Coaches and leaders of extracurricular activities could be hired through a third party or private contract.

Webber said next year’s funding from the federal government for federal forest land in the district has been reduced by more than $40,000. He said the district has been told the school could expect less Title, REAP, and at-risk federal funding for next year.

“We are reviewing our preliminary budget figures for anything we can to adjust to answer these shortfalls,” Webber said. He said originally it looked as if there would be no layoffs, but “given more recent information, this may not be the case.”

Webber told the board he would have recommendations at the next meeting for any changes or actions to offer a balanced budget. He said since the state now has $85 million in extra funding, he asked the public, who can influence the legislature, to urge release of unexpected excess in the school aid fund.

A number of classes were approved for fine arts credit for the next two school years. They include: Building trades-carpentry, CAD, welding-metals, cabinetry, manufacturing and construction, choir, Strings, band, art, senior project, journalism and creative writing.

At the onset of the meeting, board member Bruce Johanson expressed his dissatisfaction with not being permitted to add an item to the agenda.

In other action, the board:

—Will post the positions of summer school staffing.

—Accepted the retirement of Rita Schmaus from the support staff.

—Will post the need for two staff members to assist with summer cleaning duties.

—Accepted the resignation of Dick Franti as varsity girls basketball coach. Franti is retiring from the district. He has been a basketball coach in the district since 1985.

—Hired Luke Safford for a junior varsity volleyball position for the school year.

—Approved a resolution to borrow $200,000 in anticipation of state aid.

—Set a public hearing on the budget for 2013-’14 for June 24 at 7 p.m.

—Thanked Bruce Johanson for leading the first place Smackdown team, Operation Graduation parents and volunteers, and Linda Johanson on her sixth grade demonstration of Techno Dance.


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