Board approves teacher, staff contracts

By Per Peterson

The District 2904 School Board on Monday unanimously approved teacher contracts for 2017-2019.
The board approved the 2017-2019 contract with the Tracy Education Association with a 2.91% increase. The board also approved 2017-2019 contracts for all other Tracy Area Public Schools employees with a 2.75% increase. Those other positions include office-clerical, media assistants, para-professionals, cooks, food service director, custodians, district finance officer and administration.
“Both sides worked really hard,” on these contracts,” Tracy Area High School Supt. Chad Anderson said. “They set a goal, they set a timeline; I think both sides were responsible and worked hard to come to a common good. I think the whole process went well.
Anderson said some teachers might get more than the 2.75% increase, and some might get less, depending on what else they participate in at the school.
“That’s why the board negotiations committee wanted to come up with something that they felt was comparable,” he said. “You really can’t compare the percentages to each other.”
The starting salary for a new teacher in 2017-18 is $36,143. The starting salary for a new teacher in 2018-2019 will be $37,500.

Tracy Area High School is currently in sell mode and is looking to unload a variety of items, including school chairs, file cabinets, chairs from the Metrodome and student desks. A sale will take place from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the high school. Bids on the equipment will be taken using a silent auction.
The sale of these items will open up room for the school’s “School Within a School” program.
TAHS will also be selling shop and weightroom equipment items on Craig’s List. Included on this list is a Delta shaper ($200), Powermatic band saw ($300), Rockwell jointer ($200), drafting podium ($50), seated drafting table ($50) and scroll saw ($100). Anderson was told that these items are no longer acceptable to use for safety reasons.
Also, four pieces of weightlifting equipment will be sold — a Smith machine, jammer, leg extension and leg curl.
Anderson said the weightlifting equipment has become antiquated, as schools are choosing to use Olympic-style equipment. He said the school has budgeted $3,500 for new weightroom equipment. The Wrestling Club and Booster Club will each donate $2,000 toward the new equipment.
All the aforementioned items will be listed on Craig’s List at 8 a.m. on Monday, Oct. 30.
TAHS Principal Kathy Vondracek said flu shots will be available for the second round of Parent-Teacher Conferences from 3:45 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. on Monday. Hy-Vee will be at the high school to administer vaccinations, and Sanford will be at the elementary school. Both are open to the public, and vaccinations will be processed through insurance companies.
• Vondracek also noted that this year’s National Honor Society banquet will take place at Bitton’s Roadhouse in Garvin.

In other business, the board …
• Approved a resolution establishing combined polling places for multiple precincts and designating hours during which the polling places will remain open for voting for school district elections not held on the day of a statewide election.
• Approved the hiring of Asa Nelson as assistant FFA advisor for the 2017-18 school year.
• Approved the hiring of Pam Anderson as head dance team coach for the 2017-18 season.
• Approved the hiring of Alex Greenway as the seventh-grade boys’ basketball coach for the 2017-18 season.
• Approved a maternity leave request for Sondra Nyquist, elementary/high school SPED teacher, from May 16 until the end of the upcoming school year.
• Approved the winter coaches for the 2017-18 season.
• Approved a $5,000 contribution to the Tracy Lions Club for the purchase of the two-sided digital sign to be placed on Hwy. 14. The school could use the sign at no charge.
• Approved the Tracy Area District No. 2904 and Milroy District No. 635 Joint Powers Agreement for Activities.
• The board also recognized a dip in enrollment, from 743 (K-12) in September to 707 (transitional kindergarten: 15). Anderson hopes the proposed “School Within a School” program will help prevent enrollment from consistently declining.
• This year’s Veterans’ Day program will take place on Monday, Nov. 13. The reason that date was chosen over Nov. 10 was to avoid conflict with the state volleyball tournament.
“If they happened to make the state tournament, the band would go, we wouldn’t have the All-State kids to speak, we wouldn’t have the choir, we wouldn’t have some kids there to give the awards to the honored veterans,” said Anderson.
• The American Education banquet will take place at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 16, at The Caboose.
• Anderson and a group of people, including board member Sheila Siebenhaler-Holland, is working on a Tracy Area Public Schools “Education as a Lifestyle” brochure to highlight all the things the public school system provides. The brochure highlights amenities such as playgrounds, various gyms for sports at all levels, the athletic complex at the high school and the schools’ class sizes. The brochure will continue to be tweaked in the coming weeks.