Snow Days Grievance Dismissed
Board Also Purchases Land, Makes Swimming a Varsity Sport
"... We're going to have to make sure there is a proper procedure in place if this happens again." – Tammy Segulin
Chardon Schools Board of Education denied a grievance filed by the Chardon Education Association over an additional half hour teachers have had to work since late March to compensate for snow days.
Tammy Segulin, CEA president, said during Monday night’s school board meeting the additional half hour was in violation of a work agreement in their contract with the school district for the 2013-14 school year.
The extended work days, which the board approved in late March, aimed to make up for four additional calamity days the district incurred because of inclement weather that forced schools to close this past winter.
State law allows up to five calamity days per year that do not have to be made up. Chardon had a total of nine calamity days, therefore, the school board opted to make up those days with the half hour extensions.
“In extending the school day, they violated other areas of our contract which says we are supposed to work for certain hours of the day,” Segulin said. “Beginning March 26, that extension went into affect for teachers and everyone without our input,”
The board’s unanimous decision to deny the CEA grievance came after a lengthy executive session.
Segulin and two other CEA representatives were called into the closed-door meeting shortly before it ended and the board’s decision was announced.
Afterward, Segulin said teachers’ pay was not increased when the extension went into affect.
“We already have a school calender in place for next year, so if there are excess calamity days, we’re going to have to make sure there is a proper procedure in place if this happens again,” she said.
Prior to the executive session, however, Superintendent Michael Hanlon said new Ohio Department of Education rules call for school instruction to be measured in hours, not days, beginning the next school year.
“This eliminates the concept of a calamity day because, in the future, (school) districts will be required to meet a certain number of (instructional) hours at various grade levels,” he said. “If you dip below these hours, then you will have to make up hours for each hour missed.”
The new rule will not affect Chardon Schools until the current contract with the CEA expires in July 1, 2015 because an exemption temporarily excludes school districts with collective bargaining agreements made prior to July 1, 2014, Hanlon said.
The school board and union approved the existing CEA contract in February of this year.
BOE Buys Land For Better Traffic Flow
The school board also urchased a little more than an acre of land between North Street and Chardon Avenue to eventually be used to ease traffic congestion around Chardon Middle School and surrounding school properties.
Unanimously approved Monday, the land-locked 1.16-acres of property at 401 North St. was purchased from John and Kim Butala of Chardon for $27,500.
Also approved were accompanying contracts, including a $1,800 contract with Geo-Sci, Inc. of Berea for environmental soil assessment of the land and a $14,000 contract for engineering working by Land Design Consultants of Mentor.
The school district already owns more than an acre of property on the north side of the school administrative offices where it plans to build additional parking to relieve congestion, board members said.
The 1.16 acres should provide additional entrance and exit access from the high school, which often becomes congested mornings and late afternoons as parents pickup or drop off their children, board President David Fairbanks said.
“We have to do something to improve the traffic pattern at drop-off and pick-up times because this is a safety concern we’ve had for many years,” he said. “Additional parking is part of this as well because we have a parking lot now that is inadequate for people that have to park — teachers, other staff and the public coming to the middle school and the board office.”
Other board members agreed the land purchase is necessary to improve access to the area.
No timeline for use of the additional land has been set.
In other action, the board:
• Announced the price of school lunches will be increased by 25 cents, the first increase in about six years.
• Elementary school lunch prices will increase to $2.75, while those for middle school and high school students will increase to $3. The increase is about the same as lunch prices in other nearby school districts, board President David Fairbanks said.
• Made swimming a varsity sport.
• Approved a five-year school district financial forecast required by the ODE that predicts the school will have a possible deficit in 2018. A $2.4 million balance is expected at the end of the existing school year, district Treasurer Ashley Brudno said.
• Announced first year open enrollment netted more then $250,000.
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