The Platteville School Board voted Monday night to offer 103 full-time teacher contracts and two part-time teacher contracts for the 2016–17 school year.
Teachers who return or are hired for the 2016–17 school year will have not just changes in their buildings from the $16.62 million building project, but changes in their employee handbook, and possibly different choices for health insurance.
The employee handbook includes a new option to reduce the probationary period for teachers who come to Platteville with five or more years teaching experience down to two years, if recommended by the new teacher’s “supervising administrator.” The final decision will be made by the school superintendent.
The employee handbook includes a provision to create a sick leave bank to be used for “a catastrophic health condition of the employee or dependent/spouse of the employee.” Teachers can donate up to two days each school year during the first week of school, and employees are eligible to apply for up to 20 additional days of sick leave from the bank. If the bank runs out of sick days, requests for donations will be made at the start of the second semester. If the bank has 100 or more sick days, donations will not be taken until the bank drops below 50 days.
Another provision increases to 90 days the time employees can request personal leave in advance, with a limit of two staff members from Westview Elementary School, Platteville Middle School and Platteville High School, one staff member from Neal Wilkins Early Learning Center, and one non-contacted employee per building.
The employee handbook also includes a new in-school grant, which will use $10,000 from the school district budget to fund grant requests from teachers. A committee will select grant recipients.
The early edition of the 2016–17 school district budget includes staffing increases for additional teachers in third grade and sixth grade and a new Westview administrative assistant position, but it does not include pay increases per position on the school district salary schedule. Pay increases of $200 per “cell” for teaching staff and 25 cents per hour for support staff would cost the school district $63,561 next year.
Tied to that is what may happen to school employee insurance next year with the early projection of the 2016–17 budget at $16.68 million before health insurance costs. The projected premium increases of 4.9 percent for Dean Health Plan and 9.07 percent for Medical Associates would leave the school district with a budget of almost $16.85 million and $14,284 deficit. Those premium increases would also increase annual costs for employees on the Dean plan by $55 for single people and $142 for families, and for employees on the Medical Associates plan by $106 for single people and $275 for families.
Another plan being considered would create plans with, for the first time, deductibles of $1,000 for single people and $2,000 for families. Employees now pay no deductible, but under the proposed plan the school district would pay the employees’ deductible. That plan would leave the school district with a budget of $16.77 million and a $57,410 surplus. Annual premiums would decrease by $73 for single people and $191 for families on the Dean plan, and increase premiums by $16 for single people and $41 on the Medical Associates plan.
A school board committee rejected a third option that would have had the school district pay the lowest insurance carrier rate, which would have increased annual premiums by $805 for singles and $2,092 for families on the Medical Associates plan.