LMSB approves $1,800 in teachers' overtime pay
MANDATA - The approval of $1,800 worth of overtime hours for 33 Line Mountain teachers Tuesday night sparked criticism from several school board members.
Since the school year started, these teachers accumulated more than 82 hours in work beyond school hours, for which they are compensated at $22 an hour. The tasks included Individualized Education Program (IEP) meetings, child study meetings, bus duties and other responsibilities.
The payment was approved a week after the 110 teachers in the Line Mountain Education Association (LMEA) told the district they would no longer be working past their contracted 7 1/2 hours. The move was to draw attention to ongoing contract negotiations.
Teachers have been working on an expired contract since June 2012 after a one-year extension of a five-year contract that ended June 30, 2011.
At Tuesday's meeting, President Troy Laudenslager said paying the teachers for their extra hours is not a new practice, but he criticized them for saying they didn't expect it when they negotiated for it in their contracts.
Vice President Dennis Erdman, a retired teacher, said it was "disheartening" that the teachers would establish such a practice.
"I do not regret giving up any of my free time and going above and beyond for the students," he said.
Director Lauren Hackenburg agreed.
The motion to approve the overtime hours was made and seconded by Directors Erdman and Daniel Zablosky. It passed 6-3 with Directors Lawrence Neidig, David Scott Bartholomew and Erdman voting against it.
After the vote, Laudenslager said he would have rather voted against it, but the teachers are due their money since it's in the contract.
The board later approved a motion to advertise for after-school tutoring for elementary, middle and high school at a rate per hour to be determined later.
Act 80 day
The board also approved Wednesday, Nov. 27, as an Act 80 day for elementary and middle/high school. Parent/teacher conferences for students in grades kindergarten through eighth grade will start at 1 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 26, and will continue all day the next day. Staff in the high school will perform other in-service activities.
Campbell noted the conferences must end at 3:45 p.m. to accommodate the union's "working to the rule" policy.
State of district
In an interview before the meeting, Superintendent Dave Campbell said the relationship between the district's 110 teachers and the rest of the district employees has remained professional and day-to-day operations are proceeding without problem while teachers continue their second week of following their new policy of "working to the rule."
"The adjustments that were required for times prior to and after CBA (collective bargaining agreements) hours have been made and these adjustments seem to be going well," he said.
LMEA President and teacher Mark Shearer, who declined further comment, previously said the purpose of the new policy is to demonstrate to the school board the amount of work they do voluntarily - both before and after the work day - for which they do not receive nor expect any compensation.
For after-school activities, Campbell said he will supervise the seniors while elementary school Principal Jeanne Menko and director of special education Amy Dunn will supervisor the juniors, high school Principal Jeffery Roadcap will supervise the sophomores and dean of students/athletic director will supervise the freshmen.
"Also, many volunteers from the public came forward to help with this past weekend's successful homecoming activities and many more are volunteering for prom," he said.
At the elementary school in Trevorton last week, administrators and several aides were on bus duty three buses left after 3:45 p.m., he said.
Campbell said the district's busing secretary and representatives from Marvin E. Klinger Inc., Dornsife, are confident the late departures will not be an issue in the future.
"The only real complaints I have heard were in regards to staff not writing recommendations for students and the cancelation of fundraisers, both of which Mr. Mark Shearer has assured me are not at this time part of the work to rule," he said.
Last week, Shearer said teachers would not participate in any fundraisers or write any college recommendations for students outside the normal work day.
There are countless other duties that will no longer be performed outside the contracted 7 1/2-hour work day, Shearer said.
Grading tests, preparing for lessons and entering grades will still be done even if it's not done during the school day, he noted.
Otherwise, Campbell said, "Teachers are continuing to work hard in their classrooms."
Summary of settlement contract
School board members, frustrated because they feel they have been demonized the union, released a summary on the district website of their settlement contract to the teachers, detailing what the school board members are offering.
Laudenslager said the public should know the board members are being fair to the teachers and taxpayers.
The full summary of the district's proposal can be found at http://www.linemountain.com.
There are currently no scheduled contract negotiation meetings.