The RE-1 Valley School Board is looking for an administrative assistant. At a regular meeting on Monday, they approved the hiring of a part-time administrative assistant, who will be listed as a 1099 employee, to serve the board.
For the past few years the board has shared an administrative assistant with the superintendent, but recently there have been discussions about the pros and cons of this and whether it would be better to have two separate positions. Board Vice Chair Ronda Monheiser said she conducted research and the districts she contacted were split, with about half using an assistant for both and the other half using of them. Board Chairman Steve Shinn suggested that the Board Serving Assistant could be a contractor, meaning he would have to provide the tools necessary to perform his job, such as his own computer, own meeting recording system and meeting transcription devices.
“What I’m told is that’s definitely something that can be done if that’s the direction we want to pursue,” Shinn said, adding that having a separate position could be an advantage because “there are times when there can and does arise, situations where the person who has been placed in this position has been placed in some sort of untenable position; it creates a conflict of interest in trying to serve two different parts of the managerial part of the school district and there may have been conflicts that existed in terms of which direction the other party wanted to pursue.
Monheiser pointed out that there are other situations in the district where contract labor is hired, which is similar to what the board plans to do.
“There is definitely an overlap of duties, there is no doubt about that. With the former administrative assistant, it seemed like there was so much going on that it might have been advantageous, just for time management, to have them as separate individuals,” she said.
In the end, the board unanimously decided to pursue two separate positions.
In other matters, the board was updated on the superintendent search process. The position was posted for candidates to apply and an online survey was launched to gather feedback from staff, parents, students and community members to assist the board in the search process. The survey can be found at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/RE1ValleyEnglish and is open until Monday, April 11.
The board discussed holding meetings with stakeholders to also gather feedback. They suggested that Randy Zila of McPherson & Jacobson LLC, which is helping with the research, have about six meetings. Last time there were 12 of them and it was too much for Zila.
Although the board has already generated interest from some wanting to be part of the stakeholder group that will interview the finalists, Monheiser pointed out that even if you are not selected for it, there are other ways to get involved. There will be a meet and greet with applicants prior to interviews, with the opportunity to provide written feedback and people will be needed to assist with school visits and help applicants move from building to building.
Moheiser and Michelle Sharp have volunteered to work on what the process for stakeholder engagement will look like.
Earlier in the meeting, Shinn reiterated that nominations to fill Districts 3, 4, and 7 board seats are due by Monday, April 18. All interested applicants may apply by submitting an up-to-date resume, letter of interest, and three letters of recommendation to Shinn’s email address, firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are unsure if you live in one of the open districts, contact the Logan County Clerk and Orders Office.
Shinn said he had already received applications. All nominees will be interviewed by the board on Wednesday, April 20, and those selected to fill the seats will be sworn in on Monday, April 25, in time to assist in the search for the superintendent.
In addition, the council heard a brief update from health insurance. Shinn said the board is trying to get as many options as possible for next year and, as such, will hear presentations on possible plan options at a meeting on April 18. This will only be an overview of the possible options, no action will be taken.
Diane Stallard, director of human resources, said she received a call from an American Fidelity representative who wanted to know how things were going and she told him she had nothing to give him. The representative indicated that American Fidelity needed at least 25 days notice for open enrollment and that they were ready to do open enrollment in June.
During a budget discussion, the board requested another working session with Glenn Gustafson, who has worked with the district on its finances as an ex-officio member, to review possible scenarios for increases in salary for next year. Shinn said he would contact Gustafson to set up a date.
Monheiser also requested that a survey be sent out to gather staff feedback.
There was also a brief discussion of Centennial BOCES, of which RE-1 is a member. Shinn encouraged any department that thinks it could benefit from the organization’s services to contact them.
Acting Superintendent Ron Marostica told the board that before the district renews the contract with them, they may want to review the services they use Centennial BOCES for, as they are currently paying them for work already done by Marostica. and others in the neighborhood.
In other cases counsel:
- Approving a $25 bonus for all staff for Teacher Appreciation Week, May 2-6. This is the second half of a $50 bonus for the entire school year, the first half was given at Christmas;
- Set Thursday, May 5 as tentative date for District Retreat Reception
- Approved Shinn and Heather Harris as official board signatories for financial transactions and any specific contracts requiring board signature;
- Approved David Portenier, CFO, in addition to official signatures for financial transactions and specific contracts for those that would require the CFO’s signature; and
- Approved the consent agenda, which included the minutes of the February 7 and 16 meetings; retirement of Bob Hall, principal of Sterling Middle School, with a transition year in 2022-23; New recruits in March Michael Negley, long-term sub and Paul Garcia, long-term sub; New hires in April Tabitha Held, district nurse; David Portenier, Chief Financial Officer; Perry Mason, part-time summer grounds; and Elizabeth Adlesperger, Para Special Education; resignation in April of Jerry Humphries, caretaker; and May resignations of eighth-grade math teacher Ashley McFadden; Bobby Weisgerber, librarian; Kendyl Wintholz, sixth-grade math teacher; Tracy Smart, sixth grade education; Lisa Walter, Grades 6-8 Technology Education; Sharon Atkins, intervention teacher.
At the end of the meeting, the board participated in an executive session with Marostica regarding the development of the acting superintendent.