A pay increase will offset a reduction in hours for food service workers in Lexington Public Schools.
The proposal approved by the board of education Monday night was developed to comply with the Affordable Care Act.
Chief financial officer Erin Heineman said the 12 percent pay increase has a neutral cost to the district due to fewer hours of work, but it saves the district money. Because the workers will work less than 30 hours, they will not be offered health insurance benefits. A school survey showed that 20 out of 29 food service workers were barely at or over 30 hours of work.
The district’s six lead cooks, however, will keep their current hours and be offered insurance at an anticipated increased cost of $24,000.
Superintendent John Hakonson said the district is experimenting in implementing the plan. “We’ll see if these hours are doable for the first semester,” he said.
The district will also begin offering health insurance to para-educators. They are awaiting state insurance approval before announcing the details of the plan.
Hakonson said it would be impracticable to ask para-educators to work fewer hours or to split shifts and hire more workers. A survey of para-educators showed that fewer than half are interested in health insurance.
Teacher Riley Gruntorad is resigning to accept a high school secretary position, working with activities. He will replace Chris Salem who is moving to another secretary position following the retirement of Marie Wellmann.
Hakonson said rumors suggesting the district was creating an assistant athletic director position were untrue. “That isn’t the case, if you heard that,” he told board members. “It is not a teaching or an administrative position.”
The board approved a $110,800 contract with The Write Tools of Centennial, Colorado for 36 days of professional development. The company worked with teachers in the district for a year to improve informative writing. In the upcoming year, elementary teachers will be taught narrative writing, while secondary teachers will learn about opinion and argumentation.
“All the pieces will be in place after this year,” said McFarland of the writing literacy skills being taught. It is unknown if the district will continue to contract with The Write Tools for ongoing support beyond this year’s approved training.
Board members also approved $23,756 for a 6th grade social studies curriculum from TCI History Alive of Rancho Cordova, California. The company already provides curriculum materials to LPS for 7th and 8th grade students.
In other business, the board approved an annual multicultural education report and accepted a private book donation valued at $625.
Board members selected July 25th for a day-long retreat to discuss upcoming issues. They plan to meet from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. but the location has yet to be determined.