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Tiered Wage Proposal for Substitute Teachers in USD 418 Accepted at Monday’s Meeting

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By Lucky Kidd

 

McPHERSON, Kan. — A tiered wage proposal for substitute teachers in McPherson USD 418 was accepted on a 6-1 vote, Bill Grove opposed, by the McPherson USD 418 Board of Education Monday night. Final action on the proposal will come at the February meeting.

Assistant Superintendent Jamie Lewis told the board a task force has been examining various factors and possible options to help mitigate shortages of substitute teachers. The plan would start with a base daily compensation of 110 dollars for teachers with three or fewer years of experience in the district, increasing to 140 dollars for substitutes with ten or more years of USD 418 service. Retired teachers with certified licenses would be paid 150 dollars a day, and in the case of a substitute on a long-term placement consecutive and continuous days after the 15th day would be paid at a rate of 220 dollars per day.

Lara Vanderhoof was elected vice president of the board at the start of the meeting. Vanderhoof was elected on a 6-1 vote after an initial motion to elect new board member Chelsea Busch was turned down on a 4-3 vote. The vice president position became vacant when Jeff Johnson was elevated to president following the expiration of the term of Ann Elliott who did not seek re-election. The board also decided to continue election of officers at their July meeting.

Policy revisions recommended by the Kansas Association of School Boards were approved. Several of the recommendations are to clarify existing policies, two to bring them into compliance with current federal law, and one involves policies related to unpaid meal charges prior to July 1, 2017. That policy does contain some flexibility on how this is handled, and federal law still requires school districts to at least attempt to recoup unpaid meal debits.

A 2024-25 school year calendar was approved. New teachers to the district would report August 6th, with the first day of class for most students August 13th… Kindergarten students would start the following day for half days and full day classes August 27th with pre-K to start on the 21st The calendar provides two weeks off for the Christmas-New Year’s Holiday, with spring break including parent-teacher conference compensation days to run March 13-21. The last day for students is May 22nd.

Early Childhood Program Director David Brock presented an update to the board. As of December, there were a total of 191 students enrolled in the programs including Head Start. At this time, they have 102 of their 115 authorized head start slots filled, and while they have listed nine students on a waiting list for the program, they have to keep a certain amount of slots open for Head Start eligible students, Eight of the students on the list are considered “community” meaning they don’t meet Head Start requirements, and one on the list is an out of district student.

Daily attendance is running ahead of Head Start requirements of 85 percent, Brock said a job description change is being proposed for the vacant Coordinator of Family and Community Services position which is about to be posted, and a policy council meeting for January was canceled due to weather conditions.

Superintendent Shiloh Vincent gave a report on the status of snow days in the wake of winter weather earlier this month. Many school districts around Kansas have used up the number of “snow days” allotted for this school year, some by a significant amount. School districts have to have 1,116 hours of instruction each year for most students accepting high school seniors or kindergarten students. Vincent told the Board elementary schools and McPherson Middle School have as of the meeting one snow day available. Due to an air conditioning failure, McPherson High School is right now four hours short of meeting the requirement. District administrators are discussing options to make up lost time at MHS and if needed in other schools. Dr. Vincent also noted when the district goes on a two-hour delay for the start of school that doesn’t hurt them. 

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