Bear Lake board approves one-year contract with teachers

BEAR LAKE — Bear Lake teachers will be operating under a new one-year contract after the board of education approved the agreement at Wednesday’s meeting.

Superintendent Marlen Cordes detailed what was included in the agreement before the board approved it on a 7-0 vote.

Members of Bear Lake School Board of Education review the new teacher contract at Wednesday’s meeting. (Ken Grabowski/News Advocate)

“We created it for those at the top of the scale; they received an additional $625 compensation bonus for one year,” said Cordes. “All teachers received an increase to the state hard cap for their health insurance. The full family members got an increase to $2,200 for Pac B Insurance (dental and vision) and pay steps were given to any teachers who were climbing for the 2019-20 school year.”

Cordes said there were some upgrades for other individual positions.

“For the National Honor Society adviser we added to pay that position at 1.5 percent (of their salary) and we agreed to pay an elementary Quiz Bowl adviser at 1 percent,” said Cordes. “The teachers already approved this agreement, so with board approval we are now done negotiating for it as it is a one-year deal.”

Board members also took action on a NEOLA Policy that could have implications for the district and the staff. Policy 388.1766 covers violations of Michigan Compiled Law 380.1507. The policy deals with school officials doing a referral of a pupil for an abortion or assisting a pupil in obtaining an abortion. Board members approved the policy on a 7-0 vote.

“If we fail to adopt this policy the district could be fined $100,000, so we strongly urge you to approve it,” said Cordes “This concerns the teachers as well that can be fined up to 3 percent of their salary if they drive them to a clinic or talk them into going to have an abortion. We will cover that with staff when they come back in the fall.”

Board members also discussed and approved several changes to the elementary and middle/high school handbooks that were brought to them by principal Sarah Harless. The changes were in a variety of areas and all in line with the NEOLA polcies.

Approval was also given by the board for the Universal Service Administrative Agreement (USAC) concerning the E-rate funds the district had received in the mid 1990s. The agreement agrees for the district to engage the law firm of Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman to handle the appeal process.

Cordes said the state is saying that proper procedure was not followed in terms of getting bids for those services and that the school districts are liable to pay back those funds. In Bear Lake’s case that would amount to $60,000.

Wednesday’s meeting was also Bear Lake’s one of two meetings where they set several organizational things in place for the upcoming school year and new budget.

The board granted unanimous approval to name Bank One, Filer Credit Union, Fifth Third Bank, Huntington National Bank, Michigan School District Liquid Asset Fund (MILAF) and West Shore Bank as the school financial institutions for the fiscal year 2019-20.

Named as the legal counsel for the upcoming year was the Thrun Law Firm P.C.

Board members also agreed to pay several memberships for the upcoming year. They include West Michigan D League ($1,000), Northern Michigan Legislative Association ($421), Michigan Association of School Boards ($1,085) and MASB Rural Dues ($50).

Board members also approved the school calendar which calls for the first day of school to be Sept. 3 with the last day tentatively set for June 8. Christmas break will begin Dec. 21 and run until Jan. 6, 2019 this year and the spring break will take place March 30 to April 6.

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Posted by Ken Grabowski

Ken is News Advocate’s education reporter. He coordinates coverage for all Manistee County schools and West Shore Community College. He can be reached by phone at (231) 398-3125 or by email at kgrabowski@pioneergroup.com.

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