April 4, 2016

School board focuses on staff changes

By Daniel Arens

As the school year winds down, it becomes a priority for the district to fill holes left by resigning and retiring teachers, as well as staff changes needed to address changing class sizes.
The personnel committee for the Hazen School District brought up several issues related to staffing for the school board to consider. They included suggested changes in the contracts of non-certified employees, the possibility of adding another elementary teacher to the staff, and the change of the elementary music teacher from a part-time to full-time position. The curriculum committee recommended the implementation of a “high school learning center” as well.
As well as these issues, three elementary teachers submitted letters of resignation since the March school board meeting, while contracts for other positions in the school district were also addressed.
Amy Oyen, 3rd grade teacher, Ashley Tietz, 6th grade teacher, and Margaret Volk, 4th grade teacher, submitted letters of resignation. Also, Kristie Pillar resigned from running concession stands, and Ben Nelson resigned his position as Assistant Football Coach. These resignations were approved by the full school board at their April 11 meeting, and replacement positions for the three teachers have been posted.
After reviewing the three proposed changes from the personnel committee, the board moved to approve all of the changes. These changes included: a 4 percent increase for all non-certified employees; a $1 an hour increase for three office staff members, with the fourth member, Tammy Krause, receiving a $2 an hour raise; and dental benefits being offered to non-certified employees. The dental benefits, Superintendent Kris Miller noted, would amount to $3,570 in total extra costs if all employees took it, which he said would be unlikely.
At the recommendation of the personnel committee, board member Sonya Hansana moved to approve a new elementary teacher position at the school. The motion passed unanimously. Hansana noted that there was a good mentoring program in place to help new teachers adjust to their position in Hazen.
Currently, the exact position of the new teacher within the elementary school is uncertain, as Miller noted that they would place a candidate based on that candidate’s strengths. However, if the board had rejected the proposal, the district would likely have needed to rearrange teachers in-house.


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