Fairmont, teachers reach deal

FAIRMONT – The Fairmont School Board approved a two-year contract with teachers Tuesday, with the deal covering 2013-15.

Board member Julie Laue, who served on the negotiating committee, said nine individuals representing staff, administration and the board met 14 times, totaling 40 hours, to produce the agreement.

She added that it was evident during negotiations with Education Minnesota Fairmont, the teachers union, that the teachers “had the district at heart.”

The contract states that teachers who met all Q-Comp requirements this school year will advance a step on the salary schedule. The same will apply for the 2014-15. Individual health insurance will increase from about $7,300 to about $8,600 over the two school terms.

In 2014-15, the entire salary schedule will increase by 0.75 percent.

Only one item in the contract raised a question from a board member. Dan Brookens inquired about a 10 percent increase in compensation for athletic and fine arts coaches in 2014-15.

Superintendent Joe Brown noted that these coaches “were last or second to last” in level of compensation in the Big South Conference and the increase will bring them closer to the level at other schools.

Laue said the coaches had “received almost nothing” as far as a pay increase in the last two or three contracts.

Turning to other business, the board accepted the retirements of six staff members whose time of service totals more than 125 years. Scheduled to retire at the end of the school year are:

o Betty Egan, a third- and fourth-grade teacher with the district since 1993.

o Doris Mancell, currently teaching fifth grade, who has been with the district since 1993.

o Nancy Paris, a high school math teacher since 1994.

o Cliff Janke, who has taught music and directed the high school choir since 1983.

o Connie Donnelly, an elementary teacher since 1983.

o Darlene Quade, a Title I aide since 1979.

In other business, the board:

o Approved a bid of $336,000 plus $38,000 for engineering services from Restoration Services for tuck-pointing at the two school buildings. The maintenance will begin June 2 and is scheduled to be completed by Aug. 29.

Brown noted that the bid was considerably lower than the original estimate of $700,000.

o Adopted the 2014-15 school calendar, with Sept. 2 as the first day of school and June 2 as the last. Christmas break will be Dec. 20 to Jan. 4, and graduation is set for June 7.

o Accepted donations of $10,000 from Jim Riley for the high school track program to be used for a new pole vault pit; and $5,000 from the Fairmont Athletic Booster Club for a tennis wind screen.

o Approved the hiring of John Korsmo as head golf coach for the girls and boys teams.

o Approved a three-year leave of absence for Kelli Kruger, who has taught high school language arts since 2007. The unpaid leave will include the 2014-17 school years.