CRYSTAL FALLS—Forest Park School Board members wrapped up their negotiations here Aug. 26 by ratifying a new one-year contract with the Forest Park Education Association.
A week earlier, the board completed and ratified a two-year contract with the non-teaching employees’ union. They will get a 2 percent raise in 2013-14 and a 1.5 percent raise in 2014-15.
Superintendent Becky Waters said the FPEA voted Aug. 22 to accept the contract proposal, which will only gave teachers “step and lane” increases on the salary schedule this year.
“Both groups have realized the financial situation the district is in,” Waters told the board, “and I am very grateful they made some concessions.”
The superintendent noted that the proposal for the teachers “doesn’t cover the cost of living, which is very disheartening to me.” She said both union groups were great to work with.
Nearly every staff member, she said, has been at the school over the last few weeks, as preparations for the new school year continue. The school improvement group met earlier that day—making plans on their own time.
Most of the things that happen behind the scenes in school are done on volunteered time, Waters added. “They [the teachers] are very dedicated,” she said.
• Board Member Lisa Bloomburg, who chaired the meeting, had good enrollment news: The district is expecting more kindergarten students than it had before and will hold two sessions. “It’s a good problem.”
Higher numbers are also expected in third and fourth grades. High school-middle school Principal Lisa Olson reported the count for seventh grade is up to 32, and the expected freshman count has gone up by five to 53. There will also be two foreign exchange students.
• Board Member Kim Scarlassara reported on the Lightspeed sound system being installed in classrooms. It is being paid with funds from last year’s bond.
Lightspeed enables teachers to speak in their normal voice, and sound panels carry the sound around the room. Scarlassara said it was tested in several classrooms and was well received, so it will be installed in all classrooms.