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School Board Approves

By Staff | May 29, 2008

Salaries and contracts were on the agenda for the Emmetsburg Community Schools Board of Education during their May 19, meeting at the high school. The board discussed recommendations made by the Negotiation Committee and approved contracts and raises for the school district’s three administrators.

The Negotiation Committee had recommended a two-year contract and a raise of $2,500 for Jay Jurrens, principal at the high school. According to the committee, Jurrens’ current salary is below the state average for the region. His annual salary was established at $74,000 for the coming school year.

The committee also recommended at $500 raise for West Elementary Principal Matt Pugh whose salary is slightly above the regional average. Pugh was initially given an increase of $5,000 when he accepted the additional duties of principal at both the elementary school and middle school. With the construction of the new middle school building nearing completion at the high school site, Pugh will no longer hold principal duties at the middle school. In light of that, Pugh received a smaller raise. His salary was set at $76,000 per year.

“The Negotiation Committee met with Mr. Pugh and discussed the reasons for the amount of his salary increase,” said Superintendent John Joynt.

“I know the committee concluded that a minimal increase was in line at this time,” said Karla Anderson, board president, who serves on the Negotiation Committee. “The committee also had the understanding that we don’t know what’s going to happen with a preschool in the future. If that becomes a responsibility of Mr. Pugh’s, we’ll take that into consideration in a couple years, as well.”

Board member Steve Pelzer, who sits on the Negotiation Committee as well, acknowledged that the committee wanted to be fair.

“We thought a zero increase would have been a slap in the face to Mr. Pugh, however we thought a minimal $500 was reasonable,” said Pelzer.

“I just want to clearly state that this is in no way reflecting on Matt’s performance,” Anderson added. “It’s just the situation with the change of responsibilities.”

Both principals will have their salaries negotiated for the second years of their contracts.

The board also approved a three-year contract with raise of $2,000 per year for School Superintendent John Joynt. Joynt’s annual salary will now be $97,000.

Board members then approved all of the contracts and salary increases for the district’s administrators.

The board also briefly discussed paraeducators not receiving pay for two-hour late starts and early dismissals. The Negotiation Committee, who had been asked to consider the issue, had mixed views and had no recommendation for the board. However, the superintendent recommended not paying paraeducators for the two-hour late starts due to the fact that they are hourly employees.

“I feel paraeducators should be paid,” said Linda Tienter who sits on the Negotiation Committee. “When you lose ten hours in February because of late starts, that’s a lot.”

Board member Don Hagen disagreed.

“I don’t know any jobs in town where you’re paid hourly and you’d be paid for not being there,” said Hagen. “Except for vacation and sick days. I agree with Mr. Joynt’s recommendation.”

“We had some crazy weather this year,” Anderson noted. “Hopefully we won’t have it again. Paraeducators are a vital part of our system. They’re professional people, but they have a different contract. I don’t think it’s fair to put that on the district.”

Tienter then made a motion to compensate the district’s paraeducators for the ten hours they lost in February. With there being no second, the motion failed.

In other staff related business, the board approved offering contracts to Donna Hellman as a summer school paraprofessional, Brian Jurrens and Jacob Firkins as summer employees, Aaron Phillips as high school band director, and Shawn Connelly as assistant girls’ basketball coach. The board also accepted the resignations of Joe Carter from head boys’ track coach and Aaron Barber from middle school track coach.