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SCC Board examines peripheral staff pay

The St. Croix Central Board of Education took a closer look at what it pays substitute teachers as well as teacher's aides at its monthly Board meeting, Monday.

Currently the Board pays $85 per day for its substitute teachers. According to District Administrator Dan Woll, this is right at the middle of the spectrum nationally, but lags slightly behind neighboring school districts like Hudson, New Richmond and River Falls.

Teachers' aides working for SCC currently get $7 an hour, which is also less than other districts in the area. It was recommended to the Board to continue to watch substitute and aide pay at other schools and then increase their pay by next school year.

It was noted that peripheral staff pay remains slightly less because teaching packages are weighted heavily on benefits, leaving less money left for subs and aides.

In other business:

• A teacher at the Elementary School was complaining about respiratory symptoms, and her doctor suggested there might be a mold issue at the Elementary School.

In response to this theory, officials tested all of the school's rooms for air quality and found "nothing in any rooms that would recommend any action."

"It's better to know than not to know," Woll said in regard to student health concerns.

It was later found that the teacher's respiratory issues were being caused by an adverse reaction to medication. Building Principal Steve Sanders called students' parents, informing them of what was going on.

• The Middle School is currently not in danger of over-crowding. However, Principal Scott Woodington noted that based on the large numbers of students at the Elementary School, the Middle School will be facing space issues within about six years.

Enrollment at the High School is currently at 349 students, the same number as last month. There are currently 92 seniors set to graduate May 23. Ceremonies for graduation are set for 8 p.m. that night at the High School gym.

Projections for enrollment at the Elementary stands at 595 students for the 2008-09 school year. This is an additional 43 students from this year.

• The new superintendent David Bradley has agreed to contract details and signed on to start working at SCC July 1.

• The Board examined the fund-raising policies in the District and decided a committee would be formed to look further into the issue.

Issues of concern are groups that are not expressly sanctioned by the school, raising money in the school's name, sports teams being prohibited from raising money, businesses and other entities donating money and gifts in the school's name and if outside entities should be registered with the school when raising money in its name.

• The high cost of fuel is driving up the cost of food used in school lunches. Director of Food Services Tammy Simonson recommended to the Board to raise the prices of school lunches by 10 cents. Simonson said the District has spent $14,000 more on milk alone this year than last, because of rising costs. Simonson estimates food prices will rise another 6 percent next year.

SCC is currently below average for school lunch prices compared with other school in the area.

The Board accepted the price change recommendation and raised the price of school lunch by 10 cents for the 2008-09 school year. Lunches at the Elementary School will go from $1.55 to $1.65 and lunches at both the High School and Middle School will go from $1.75 to $1.85. Adult prices for meals will go up by 15 cents. The free and reduced meal program will not change.