The Ottumwa Courier

Southeast Iowa

April 11, 2014

School Board, OEA agree to new contract

OSKALOOSA — The Oskaloosa School Board agreed to a tentative agreement with the Oskaloosa Education Association at Tuesday’s regular session.

The agreement, which will be voted on the by the association later this week, will be a 3.6 percent increase and includes increases for insurance.

“It was a very good meeting between the negotiations team,” said superintendent Russ Reiter. “Thanks to everyone for their work.”

Board Secretary Chad Vink stated there were a number of items discussed that were not part of the negotiated contract, but were valuable discussion items. The contract includes an increase in the base by $550.

With the completion of the tentative agreement, Reiter recommended the hiring of two new teachers. They were hired in the Special Education Department at the high school for 2014-15. Both served recently as student teachers in the district. The teachers, Noelle Hoover and Taya Donovan, will be hired at BA step 1 at $33,615 each.

“When you have a number of colleges in the area with student teachers you have a chance to hire new talent and see how they perform, you have to try to hire them,” said Reiter. “These two taught at the high school. Taya taught at the high school and at the middle school. They will be good additions to our staff.”

Curriculum Director Dr. Mary Cooksley stated the results from the parent survey were in, but only 20 percent responded. Conversation by board members ensued regarding how to increase the numbers. Cooksley said the report is an online assessment. Questions arose if this was the only way to access the survey. The answer was yes from Cooksley, but that according to student assessment nearly 90 percent state they have Internet access.

Board Chair Carl Drost was disturbed by the percentages for the question regarding how much building principals care for students. The results showed approval at about 50 percent at the high school and 60 percent at the middle and elementary schools.

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