By Inger Koppenhaver
Commencing for the first school board meeting of the New Year, trustees met Monday night to tackle such upcoming issues as the special mill levy election and teacher contract negotiations.
With the $140,000 special mill levy election set for February 24, where voters will ultimately determine whether the Bolin building will receive a new boiler, hot water heating system and ventilation system, Superintendent Charles Deisher presented board members with an article, as part of a series that will be published in the Tribune in the upcoming weeks leading up to the vote. The articles will present to the public the issue at hand and why the school is seeking a vote of approval for the Bolin building project.
“(You’ve) pretty much wrote down everything we wanted incorporated,” Trustee Sherry Strasheim said of the facts presented.
Chairman Brian Morast agreed, noting the advantages and disadvantages facing voters in each option were addressed.
Throwing a slight wrench in the plan, is knowing the estimated cost to relocate the cafeteria to the high school lobby.
The Bolin building, housing kindergarten through fourth grade classes, also includes the multi-purpose room consisting of the school cafeteria. If voters decline the mill levy, it would likely mean shutting the Bolin building and relocating the cafeteria to the high school lobby, as well as relocating classes to either the Grandey or high school building.
“Everything is going smoothly as far as I can tell,” Deisher told board members of the overall process of attaining information about the options for the boiler project and getting that information out to the public. Deisher, who has actively been meeting with members in the community in informal chats, expects to have the cafeteria relocation costs within the next week.
Negotiations Will Begin
Terry Teacher Association President Susan Tyler recently sent a letter to the Board of Education stating that the association would like to negotiate the salary base pay for teachers, pay for teachers who coach, and group insurance.
The TTA also plans to discuss the option of, “adding a representation fee for non-union members,” meaning teachers who are not a member of the TTA would still be required to pay a fee to the association, despite not being members, because the association’s negotiations ultimately affect all teacher salaries. Currently the TTA includes about seven teachers as members.
Expressing a desire to wait until the Montana legislative session has ended for the year, with a better understanding of state budget constraints, board members agreed to set up a committee to meet with the TTA about non-economic items. The negotiation team will consist of Strasheim, Morast and Jason Higgins. Talks with TTA representatives will begin February 9.
New Foundation Started
School trustees approved the articles of incorporation on a new charitable foundation to benefit Terry Schools. The foundation, which will include existing scholarship funds and endowments, will also allow interested individuals an opportunity to donate funds for special school projects.
Attorney Dale Hubber, who is assisting in setting up the foundation, suggested that the school keep the main foundation purpose broad.
The next step will involve solidifying the by-laws of the foundation.