Three-year teachers contract approved in Mercer County

Posted Online: Aug. 14, 2014, 9:50 pm
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By Cathy Decker,
ALEDO -- The Mercer Board of Education approved a three-year contract with the 101-member teacher's union on Wednesday night. The contract gives a 2.5 percent to 3 percent increase each year for base salaries, and calls for teachers to pay part of their health insurance costs. Teachers ratified the contract in a vote held Aug. 3. The board vote was unanimous.

A portion of the 9.7 percent health insurance increase will be passed along to teachers this year, according to Superintendent Alan Boucher. "In the past, the district has paid for all or most of the health insurance," he said. The board also agreed to continue to allow Delta Dental Insurance to offer teachers optional dental insurance, which has no cost for the school district.

A rough draft of the 2014-15 budget was presented. Mr. Boucher said the property tax levy will produce increased income of about $200,000. General State Aide should rise $23,000, because of increased student numbers. "My full intent is to recommend to you a black budget," said Mr. Boucher. He projects that revenue will rise to $12,999,000, up from last year's $12,606,000.

He said the district already has $100,000 in cash reserves from the 1 percent sales tax, which began arriving in April. The district receives between $25,000 and $27,000 per month from that new revenue source, which can be used for building and property maintenance, but not salaries.

Mr. Boucher said he had a few questions about where to place some of the district expense items and will be seeking advice from auditors who are working on last year's audit. Expenses are projected at $12.5 million, down from last year's $12.9 million. "Because of track renovation, the revenue came in and skewed the numbers," Mr. Boucher said.

Results from the annual audit will be presented to the board in October.

After a lengthy discussion on the Common Core teaching approach, the board directed the superintendent to provide links on the district website for parents to find out more about Common Core. They also discussed providing information during parent-teacher conferences and open houses.

"Common Core is a set of goals. There are lots of ways to meet those goals," board president Marta Tucker said. "It's going to be a big change from what students and parents are accustomed to."

The district has decided to wait at least a year before purchasing textbooks that use the Common Core approach.

In other business the board:

-- Learned student registrations still were being accepted at all schools with Aledo's Apollo Elementary current count at 377, up six from last year; New Boston Elementary's count at 221, up from last year's 212; Aledo Intermediate's count at about 200, up seven from last year; Joy Junior High at 200, down from 219 last year; and 400 at Aledo's high school, up 12 from last year. The first day of classes is Thursday.
-- Agreed to seek bids for two bus replacements;
-- Accepted the resignation of Brian Adams, driver's education teacher, and hired Jack Ewing as his replacement.
-- Approved a leave of absence for Kay Hedrick, paraprofessional, and a maternity leave for Abbie Hicks, choir director.
-- Agreed to the following coach assignments: head football coach, Nat Zunkel; assistant football coaches, Brian Dennison, Jason Kenney, Bill Osmun, Eric Russell; fresh-soph football, Dustin Murray; cross country, Mick Louck; volleyball, Mallory Higgins; soph volleyball, Whitley Frieden; boys' golf, Darrin Clawson; girls' golf, Aaron Heartt; high school cheer, Christie Harrison, and poms, Sharon Simpson.
-- Hired junior high coaches as follows: cheerleading, Stephanie Retherford; volleyball, Ashley Coulter for eighth grade and Brittany Crocker for seventh grade; seventh-grade football head coach, Dennis Runbom, and assistant coach, Ryan Koresko; eighth-grade head coach, Jeremy Finch, and assistant coach, Dallas Morford.


Local events heading

  Today is Tuesday, Sept, 30, the 273rd day of 2014. There are 92 days left in the year.

1864 — 150 years ago: The ARGUS Boys are very anxious to attend the great Democratic mass meeting tomorrow and we shall therefore, print no paper on the day.
1889 — 125 years ago: H.J. Lowery resigned from his position as manager at the Harper House.
1914 — 100 years ago: Curtis & Simonson was the name of a new legal partnership formed by two younger members of the Rock Island County Bar. Hugh Cyrtis and Devore Simonson..
1939 — 75 years ago: Harry Grell, deputy county clerk was named county recorder to fill the vacancy caused by a resignation.
1964 — 50 years ago: A new world wide reader insurance service program offering around the clock accident protection for Argus subscribers and their families is announced today.
1989 — 25 years ago: Tomato plant and other sensitive greenery may have had a hard time surviving overnight as temperatures neared the freezing point.

(More History)