In an effort to encourage teachers to not take any personal days for the remainder of the school year, the Marshall School District is offering a $75 per day stipend for up to three days of unused personal time.
The school board approved the proposal at its April 21 meeting.
Superintendent Dan Grady said staff will be allowed to use their personal days but this is a “large, loud recommendation.”
Per the employee handbook, staff are allowed either one, two or three personal days.
“We are experiencing a huge shortage of (substitute) teachers,” Grady said. “The wonder is to ask the board not make handbook changes … knowing the needs we have with student supervision and teaching, we are hoping you will approve for this year a $75 payout per unused personal day.”
The superintendent said this not only serves as compensation, but a way to thank staff for continuing to teach students.
“We want to keep the most qualified people in front of our kids as often as possible,” Grady added.
The district will use ESSER money provided to the district through the federal CARES act for the payouts, which could total $12,000. Grady said this accounts for a very small percentage of the ESSER funds Marshall received.
According to the superintendent, the federal money can be used in a wide range of ways to offset learning loss.
“Doing this is a huge way to prevent learning loss,” said board President Debbie Frigo.
The cash stipend, which will be prorated, will be paid out in cash at the end of the school year.
Support staff starting wages to see significant increase
In an effort to attract support staff to the district, the school board voted to increase the starting hourly wage for nine-month food service staff, regular education aides, special education aides, instructional aides, and office aides to $14. The starting hourly wages for these positions had previously been $11.40, $11.71, $11.93, $11.71 and $11.71 respectively.
“Our pay schedule (for those positions) has been low for a long time,” Business Manager Bob Chady said. “We have made efforts to make strides and improvements in it … I think where we’re going is good for our hourly staff members.”
Chady said the wage increase will impact 35% of the district’s hourly staff.
He hopes the starting pay will attract a larger candidate pool for those positions “but more importantly, I think it’s more respectful of our hourly staff members and what they do for the district.”
Chady said based on the previous wage scale, there were hourly employees making less than $14 an hour. In order to remedy this, current employees will see 38-cent to $2.68 hourly increase based on tenure.
The business manager said going to an hourly wage of $14 was a good start but still puts Marshall on the low-end of wages for hourly staff compared to other districts. Chady said the hourly staff pay will likely need to be addressed again in a few years.
All other district employees will also receive raises. Certified staff will receive a $700 prorated increase based on FTE and salaried staff will receive an $844 salary increase, also based on FTE. Administrators will receive a $1,334 bump in salary.
Additionally, teachers who are entering their third, seventh, tenth, 13th, 16th or 19th year with the Marshall School District will be eligible for an additional $1,000 salary increase. Certified staff will also be eligible for pay increases based on extra certifications, post-graduate degrees or obtaining 40 professional learning points.
The new wages will go into effect July 1, the start of the 2021-2022 academic year.
Other board news:
• Learned Prom will be held Saturday, May 15 at Waterloo Firemen’s Park pavilion and graduation will be held Saturday, June 5 at 1 p.m. at the high school.
• Approved the purchase of 140 MacBooks to replace the ones currently used by district staff. While the devices were recently purchased, the computers have not always been compatible with software being used this year for learning. The newer models have a better chip to remedy the issues.
• Approved the annual CESA 2 service contract and JEDI virtual school consortium agreement. The district will again serve as the JEDI host.
• Approved a request from the high school vocal music department to have an overnight retreat Oct. 8-9.