The Plymouth School District Board of Education met at 7 p.m. Aug. 16, 2011. The board:
Click here to watch video of the most recent Board of Education meeting, courtesy of Plymouth Community Television Channel 14.
The board approved the 2011-12 budget, which shows a $111,000 deficit expected to be offset by savings from the 2010-11 school year.
The total expenses of $28.1 million is down about $600,000, or 2 percent, from the previous year. The levy is estimated to be $11,517,203, a decrease of 0.42 percent.
The budget now goes to the electors for approval. The annual meeting will begin at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 20 in the Amphitheatre at Plymouth High School, 125 Highland Ave.
The board met Salah Ibrahim, who will teach Arabic language and culture at Plymouth High School this year through the Teachers of Critical Languages Program.
Mr. Ibrahim is from Upper Egypt, where he has a wife and three children, including a daughter born a week before he left for the United States. He has been teaching English for 19 years, and has been to the United States twice before.
Plymouth is very fortunate to be participating for a second time in the Teachers of Critical Languages Program, which is funded by the U.S. Department of State and administered by the American Councils for International Education. Only about 20 schools in the country receive a placement each year.
The goal of the program is to bring teachers of Arabic and Chinese to the United States to increase student exposure to these languages and to promote cross-cultural understanding.
The program covers the teacher’s expenses, enabling Plymouth to expose its students to a language of emerging importance at no cost to the district.
Community Education & Recreation will work with Mr. Ibrahim to bring his knowledge and experiences to a broader audience as well. His predecessor, Ez Eldin Salem, held a series of popular lectures about Egypt.
Mr. Ibrahim said he is looking forward to experiencing many activities while he is here and wants to meet as many area residents as possible. Please contact Laura Koebel at the high school to schedule speaking arrangements for classes or clubs.
Superintendent Clark Reinke said the program represents a tremendous opportunity for our community. “We’re thrilled to build upon what we started last year.”
Click here for a Hi-Light’s story about last year’s program.
Upon the advice of legal counsel, the board approved revised employment contracts with administrators. These contracts eliminate conflicts between the original contracts approved in January and the newly enacted Wisconsin Act 10, which requires public employees to pay 50 percent of the required contribution to the Wisconsin Retirement System.
Accordingly, administrators now will pay 5.8 percent of their salaries into the state pension fund. In addition, they also will pay 12 percent of their health insurance premiums, up from 5 percent. In exchange for these revisions to their contracts, they will receive a 5 percent salary adjustment.
Board member Sally Isley dissented, objecting to the 5 percent increase. She noted that most administrators received a 2 percent bonus earlier this year in lieu of a raise.
But others on the board said the additional compensation was fair. Even with the adjustment, the district’s costs will be reduced by 3 percent. In addition, the new contracts are intended to head off a potential legal challenge and also to keep administrators from leaving the district.
The board approved contracts with the following teachers:
These hires complete the faculty with the exception of one part-time special-education position, Dr. Reinke said. He thanked those who put in many hours this summer interviewing and selecting a higher-than-normal number of new teachers.
The board also learned that Jennifer McCully has been hired as a part-time school nurse. Ms. McCulley has a bachelor’s degree in nursing from UW-Milwaukee and has seven years of nursing experience.
The board approved Board Policy 527 – Staff Complaints and Grievances, a new policy that outlines the process to be followed if an employee files a grievance regarding discipline, termination or workplace safety.
The policy is the result of changes to collective bargaining at the state level that require school districts to align their grievance procedures with that governing civil service. The policy was drafted by the district’s legal counsel and is being adopted by most area districts.
The policy initially will cover those employees not in labor unions, and eventually all employees as existing labor contracts expire.
The board voted to join a resolution with the City of Plymouth, the Town of Plymouth and Sheboygan County asking the state Department of Transportation to construct an interchange at state Highway 23 and county Highway E.
The state plans to upgrade Highway 23, limiting access to it and increasing the speed to 65 mph west of Highway 57. Highway E would become an overpass, with no access to Highway 23.
Highway E to the south is Highland Avenue, home to Plymouth High School and Horizon Elementary School.
The board gratefully accepted $15,047 in donations at its Aug. 16 meeting.
The district received:
Summary prepared by Jamie Piontkowski, Plymouth School District communications coordinator