Following a 12-hour mediation session, the Barnum School Board and representatives of Education Minnesota – Barnum came to an agreement that was satisfactory to both parties, it was announced at the meeting of the Barnum School Board on Tuesday, February 19.
The teachers' union had approved the contracts, and the board approved the contracts for 2011-2013 and 2014-2015. The vote on the first contract passed unanimously, and the vote on the second contract passed, with Board Member Michael Line voting nay.
The professional staff will receive a 3.6 percent increase on the first contract, and 6.8 percent on the second contract, totaling $118,000 and $234,000 respectively.
Board Treasurer Paul Coughlin stated that this is the second year in a row that the Barnum School District has had over $200,000 in deficit spending.
The board approved the revised Fiscal Year 2013 budget as recommended by the Finance Committee.
Superintendent Dave Bottem announced that 30 more laptop computers will be purchased for the high school, and a larger receiver may be installed in the Media Center for WiFi.
He had recommended that the snow day on January 11, when the school had to be closed, could be made up on a non-student day at the end of the school year.
High School Principal Steve Brandt reported that the teachers are holding back on spending. They are not asking to go to trainings.
“When things turn around, we need to reinstate that and have them go to trainings,” he said.
Brandt also explained that an advisory program is being considered, based on the University of Minnesota “Ramp Up for Readiness” and other programs, after instructors attend a workshop on March 13. An advisory time would be made for the teachers, if the program is implemented.
The program would consist of a one-on-one tutoring program to work with struggling students. A student helper and parents would be involved.
“We hope to have the program led by the teachers, and the teachers would implement the program in the fall,” he said.
The next meeting of the Barnum School Board was set for Tuesday, March 19. A board working meeting was set immediately following the regular school board meeting to discuss the Fiscal Year 2014 budget and facility planning.