Administrators at Madison-Plains Local Schools noticed the district was having trouble attracting substitute workers. So, on Dec. 17, the Board of Education approved hikes in hourly pay rates for such workers.
"The rates hadn’t been raised in four or five years. The increases were overdue," said Treasurer Scott Hiles. "The increases will make us more competitive with other businesses who use hourly labor."
The hourly rate changes are as follows:
• casual labor—was $9 per hour, now is $10 per hour;
• substitute custodian—was $8.40, now is $11;
• substitute bus driver—was $11.29, now is $14;
• substitute cook—was $8.40, now is $10;
• substitute aide—was $8.40, now is $10; and
• substitute secretary—was $8.40, now is $10.
The increases will go into effect Jan. 1.
In other action, the school board passed a resolution in opposition to House Bill 315, which calls for school districts and their employees to cover a 5 percent increase in their State Teachers Retirement System (STRS) contribution rate over the next five years.
According to the resolution, Ohio school districts pay over $1.2 billion annually to STRS. The increase would cost school districts hundreds of millions of dollars per year when fully implemented. For Madison-Plains, the proposal’s additional cost would be $472,564 over five years, which equates to 2.61 mills.
"If we ask voters for new money (for this), we’d be walking up a pretty steep hill," said board member Ken Morlock.
The resolution urges Sen. Steve Austria, Sen. Steve Stivers, Rep. Chris Widener and Rep. Larry Wolpert to opposed House Bill 315. It also suggests that STRS "examine its health care benefits carefully and live within its means rather than seek higher levels of funding from school districts."
The board also:
• approved the advertisement to accept sealed bids for the purchase of four 77-passenger buses;
• accepted an anonymous donation of $1,000 to the principal’s account at Madison Rural Elementary for technology;
• accepted an $1,100 donation from the Columbus Foundation for Educators Incentive Grants and $586 from Peggy Joslin to fund the proposed grants to Madison Rural and Midway elementary schools;
• named Todd Geyer as the new science department chairman at the high school, effective the second half of this school year, due to the retirement of Gary Simms; and
• selected Don Swonger to be the board’s representative on the Tolles Career & Technical Center school board for one year starting Jan. 1.
The board’s next meeting will start at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 8 at Madison Rural Elementary. First on the agenda is the board’s annual organizational meeting followed by the regular meeting.