The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

April 20, 2013

E-B-F reduces hours for para-educators

EDDYVILLE — Faced with a nearly $138,000 increase in insurance costs the Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont School Board this week approved reducing the hours of all para-educators from about 37 to just 29 hours per week to avoid requirements of the National Health Care Act.

In February, Superintendent Dean Cook recommended cutting 12 special education para-educators and three more working as librarians. However, this week his recommendation instead was a choice of either cutting eight para-educators or to reduce the hours of all para-educators (around 25 to 28 employees), for the 2013-14 school year.

Board member David Friedman opted to reduce hours instead of cutting jobs, noting, “It just gets pretty tight when we have cut paras in the past. Those people play key roles in running the school.”

In fact, several teachers spoke to or wrote letters to the board, providing a detailed account of the jobs that para-educators perform, urging the board not to cut those positions.

“I feel very frustrated that our hands are tied with the health care act," said board member Gay Murphy.

She asked that employees’ hours be cut by working less days instead of less hours per day so that it will be easier for employees to get a second job if needed.

However, board member Mike Mayberry noted that quality employees may not stick around for a 29-hour per week job and that special education students have a need for more consistency that comes with full-time employees.

“I don’t think it’s going to work,” he said.

Meanwhile, a plan to reduce elementary school “specials” such as music, art and physical education classes to only one 45 minute session per week drew a standing-room-only crowd to this week’s board meeting with more than 20 concerned patrons urging board members to reconsider cuts during an open public forum.

Text Only
Local News
  • Youth playing with guns panic Fairfield residents FAIRFIELD — The Fairfield Police Department received two calls Tuesday from concerned citizens reporting kids with guns in the vicinity of both elementary schools. In both incidents, the guns were actually pellet guns but looked real. According to a

    April 23, 2014

  • The most fun you ever had

    OTTUMWA — Not every child's idea will be possible — but every idea was recorded. "Kaboom" project manager Brenna Hull of the nonprofit group's San Francisco office was in Ottumwa Tuesday. She asked students at the Ottumwa school district what they'd like to see in a playground.

    April 22, 2014

  • 0423 OTT Recycle center color photo 2 -T -M Where every day is Earth Day

    OTTUMWA — Putting cans in the correct bin, saving electricity and adjusting the thermostat are not new concepts to the Ottumwa/Wapello Recycling Center staff. "We try to practice what we preach," said Janice Bain,

    April 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • 0423 OTT lottery retailers graph -T -M Hoping for riche$ — Part 2

    OTTUMWA — We’ve all heard countless stories of lottery winners and losers. The winners, some of whom hold down multiple jobs, have modest dreams for now. One wants to buy a new home or car, another wants to pay of their debts or give to charity and e

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo 1 Story

  • 0423 OTT Byway color photo -L -T -M Bike the Byway coming to southeast Iowa

    OTTUMWA — The first Bike the Byway ride will feature communities along the Historic Hills Scenic Byway and make for a fun day of bike riding. Scheduled for June 21, the ride will begin in Ottumwa and take cyclists through Blakesburg, Unionville, Drak

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo 1 Story

  • 0423 OTT Tupper cover bw -L -T -M The 24-hour news cycle OTTUMWA — It's a story of political campaigning, dark secrets and the painful glare of the national spotlight — and Ottumwa plays a cameo role. In J. Mark Powell's new novel "Tell It Like Tupper," several southern Iowa towns provide much of the story

    April 22, 2014 4 Photos

  • 0423 OTT Reminisce color photo -L -T -M 'On the Riverfront' draws a crowd OTTUMWA — The Des Moines River has been the defining feature of Ottumwa since its early days, and the crowd who attended Tuesday's Reminisce Society presentation proves it's still an immensely popular topic. The Ottumwa Public Library's meeting room

    April 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • 0423 OTT artist rendering color -L -T -M New look for Jefferson Street parking lot OTTUMWA — More improvements are on their way to downtown Ottumwa. During a special meeting of the Ottumwa City Council Monday night, council members approved a memorandum of understanding with the Legacy Foundation to improve the parking lot south of

    April 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • Happier students, higher scores OTTUMWA — It's nearly a cliche in the business world: "Happy workers are productive workers." Schools are testing whether "Happier students are higher achieving students." "That sense of belonging [drives people] to achievement," said Davis Eidahl, s

    April 21, 2014

  • Legacy Foundation announces $150,000 in grant awards OTTUMWA — The Ottumwa Regional Legacy Foundation has announced the names of its newest Bright Ideas Community Enrichment Fund partners as 14 grants were recently awarded to local nonprofit organizations totaling $150,000. “We received $350,000 in fun

    April 21, 2014

Photo reprints


Obituaries

Facebook
E-edition