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. 16, the 259th day of 2014. There are 106 days left in the year.

1864 — 150 years ago: A fine lumber mill is on the course of erection at Andalusia. A flouring mill at that location is doing a fine business.
1889 — 125 years ago: J.B. Lidders, past captain of Beardsley Camp, Sons of Veterans, returned from Paterson, N.Y., where he attended the National Sons of Veterans encampments.
1914 — 100 years ago: President Wilson announced that he had received from the imperial chancellor of Germany a noncommittal reply to his inquiry into a report that the emperor was willing to discuss terms of peace.
1939 — 75 years ago: Delegates at the Illinois Conference of the Methodist Church in Springfield voted to raise the minimum pay of ministers so that every pastor would get at least $1,000 annually.
1964 — 50 years ago: An audience of more than 2,600 persons jammed into the Davenport RKO Orpheum theater with a shoe horn feasted on a Miller-Diller evening that was a killer night. Phyllis Diller sent the audience with her offbeat humor. And send them she did! It was Miss Diller's third appearance in the Quad-Cities area.
1989 — 25 years ago: A few years ago, a vacant lot on 7th Avenue and 14th Street in Rock Island was a community nuisance. Weeds grew as high 18 inches. Today, the lot has a new face, thanks to Michael and Sheila Rind and other neighbors who helped them turn it into a park three weeks ago.

(More History)