Pay increase approved for substitute teachers

Published 10:08 pm Monday, July 16, 2018

Board hopes to increase pool of subs available

Substitute teachers who step in more will be compensated more thanks to a change in payment structure approved by the Albert Lea school board Monday night.

Jim Quiram

Albert Lea Area Schools swapped out its previous two-tier substitute teacher pay structure for a three-tiered structure. The first tier, at $110 per day, is for substitutes who have subbed in the district for fewer than 240 hours in the previous semester. The second tier, at $120 per day, is for teachers who worked more than 240 hours in the district in the previous semester or for substitutes who are retired licensed teachers from Albert Lea Area Schools. The added third tier is an added step up for tier two teachers who worked 240 hours in the previous semester.

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Executive Director of Administrative Services Jim Quiram said the policy also shortened the length of time required for a teacher to attain the next tier from one full academic year to a semester, allowing them to move up the tiers more quickly.

The majority of substitute teaching jobs in the district are taken by a small pool of regular substitutes, of whom retirees make up a good chunk.

“The objective here is to maybe increase our sub pool some — although we’re only going to get some new people within a so-many mile radius to do it — but is to maybe entice or get a little bit of a carrot out there for those that do sub already to maybe do a little bit more than they have in the past,” Quiram said.

Changes to the tier system were approved by a 4-0 vote, with school board members Jill Marin and Neal Skaar abstaining due to their history as substitutes within the school district.

The school board also awarded the sale of both its general obligation school building bonds in separate resolutions. The board will use money from the bonds to pay for upgrades to the Hammer Athletic Complex as well as to expand Halverson Elementary School’s gym and increase its security by moving the office, add an HVAC system to Albert Lea High School’s gymnasium and finish a swim locker room at the high school.

The district is using a combination of capital appreciation bonds and serial bonds to fund the upgrades. According to client representative Kelly Smith from Springsted, a firm that operates as financial adviser for the district, both bond sales were achieved at lower interest rates than Springsted projected. Springsted handled the competitive bidding process for the bond sales.

“You had a very good response to your bond proposal today,” Smith said.

The district approved sale of its serial bonds to Baird, a wealth management, capital markets, asset management and private equity firm at a true interest cost of 3.46 percent, about 0.04 percent below the estimate provided by Springsted in June. It also approved sale of the capital appreciation bonds to J.P. Morgan Securities at a true interest cost of 2.96 percent, about 0.54 percent below the rate anticipated by Springsted.

True interest cost is intended to provide the actual cost of issuing a bond, taking into account the time value of money.

Smith said that while the percentage point differences look small, those differences in estimates can mean, between the two bonds, $740,000 in savings to the district over the course of a 20-year bond.

“All in all, a very good sale date for Albert Lea Area Schools,” Smith said.

In other action:

The school board reviewed current policies for family and medical leave, mandated reporting of child neglect or physical sexual abuse, bullying, student sex nondiscrimination, wellness and school district system accountability and approved the policies with no revisions.

Funk reminded board members of the upcoming filing period for school board elections. Filing is open from July 31 through Aug. 14. There will be four spots open for election. Terms for board members Mark Ciota, Dave Klatt and Jill Marin will be up for contention. None of the three members have announced whether they will be running again. There will also be a seat added to the board to be filled in the November election.

About Sarah Kocher

Sarah covers education and arts and culture for the Tribune.

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