The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

January 12, 2013

District 118 board to vote on custodians’ contract

BY CAROL ROEHM
Commercial-News

DANVILLE — District 118 school board members will consider ratifying a collective bargaining agreement Wednesday for the district’s custodians.

Following mediation, the district’s negotiating team reached a tentative agreement last month with Local 399 for a three-year contract beginning fiscal year 2012-2013 for the district’s 51 custodians.

“We met several times,” Ron Henton, director of buildings and grounds, said. “It came down to salary and insurance.”

The proposed contract includes a 45-cent an hour pay raise in the first year of the contract, a 30-cent raise in the second year and 20-cent raise in the third year.

The proposal would cost the school district $44,500 in new money each of the three years, Henton said.

Under the proposal, all employees in the buildings and grounds department would start contributing toward the employee insurance premium each month throughout the three-year contract, Henton said.

“An employee premium contribution is something new to the district employees,” he said.

In the first year, employees would pay $10 per month; in the second year, they would pay $11 per month; and in the third year, they would pay $12 per month.

The district’s food service worker contract also has gone into mediation, but there is tentative approval for that contract that covers 115 food service workers, 90 of whom are represented by the union.

Superintendent Mark Denman said the District 118’s negotiating teams and the Danville Education Association will sit down with a federal mediator to jump start negotiations on the teachers’ and teaching assistants’ contract at 9 a.m. Jan. 22 and the secretaries’ and learning resource clerks’ contract at 4 p.m. Jan. 24.

“We hope to make progress in mediation,” he said.

Little progress was made when the DEA and the district’s bargaining teams met once in November and then again the beginning of December, so the school board on Dec. 12 agreed to seek the assistance of a federal mediator.

The DEA outlined its sticking points with the district’s proposal for teachers and teaching assistants at a Dec. 18 membership meeting. The union says the district’s proposal — which includes employee contributions toward insurance coverage, plus a longer work day and 15 extra work days per school year while freezing salaries at the 2011-2012 level — is unacceptable.

Also on Wednesday, the school board will:

--Learn that seven candidates, including some from out of state, will be interviewed for the associate superintendent position, which will be vacated when Dianna Kirk retires at the end of the school year. Interviews also will begin shortly for the high school principal position, which will become available when Mark Neil retires at the end of the school year.

Denman said he hopes to recommend two people to fill those positions for the board’s approval at its Feb. 13 meeting.

Also retiring at the end of the current school year are Kathy Houpt, human resources director; Diane Hampel, educational support services director; and Cheryl McIntire, Northeast Magnet School principal.

--Discuss school safety. Denman said several administrators, including Kirk, Neil and East Park Elementary Principal Chris Rice, and the district’s three resource officers met with Public Safety Director Larry Thomason on Monday “to go over procedures and protocols, in light of the tragedy in Connecticut.”

“They indicated our (safety) plans are well thought out,” Denman said.

Two suggestions that came out of the meeting, Denman said, were “easier police access” to the buildings and installing interior door locks.

“There also are some budgetary issues, such as strengthening the intercoms, especially in the gymnasiums,” he said.

Even before last month’s Connecticut school shooting, the Danville Police Department planned to stage an emergency crisis drill at one of District 118’s schools, Denman said.

That emergency crisis drill will be conducted today between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. at South View Middle School.

--Consider increasing DHS’ graduation requirements.

The DHS Graduation Review Committee proposes that the number of credits needed for graduation be gradually raised to 44 credits from 40 credits.

An increase to 42 credits would begin with the Class of 2017 who will enter DHS in the fall of 2013.

After a further review of the first increase in graduation credits, it is recommended that the Class of 2019, who will enter DHS in the fall of 2015, meet a 44-credit requirement.

“We have a number of freshmen reaching the 40-credit requirement,” Denman said. “On the basis of that, it’s time to raise the credit requirement.”

Currently, DHS students are required to take a minimum of eight credits of English, six credits of math, five credits of social studies and four credits of science.

Neil suggests that one of the four additional credits under the proposal be a required science credit, which would require students to take an extra semester of science.

“We want students to be better prepared,” Denman said. “With the emphasis on STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and Common Core Standards, it’s necessitating this. We need to set the tone by raising the requirement limit.”

--Consider approving a construction easement and an intergovernmental agreement with the City of Danville for the construction and maintenance of DHS’s green parking lot, which the city is funding with grant and TIF money.

--Consider approving curriculum for a new Advanced Placement biology class at Danville High School as well the curriculum for the Junior ROTC program, years 1-4.

The two Junior ROTC instructors hired are Retired Lieutenant Colonel Tim Merriott and Retired Sergeant Major Emas Griffin.

--Consider approving the purchase of property at 318 Sidell St. for $1,000.

Denman said an unoccupied home is located on the property, which is on the south side of the high school’s athletic field.

Coming Up

District 118 school board members will meet at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, at the Jackson Building, 516 N. Jackson St.