Journal Express, Knoxville, IA

Local News

March 28, 2014

M-D Teachers' Union asks for 7.25% increase

The Melcher-Dallas Education Association’s initial contract proposal for the coming fiscal year was for a 7.25 percent total package increase. The proposal was submitted to the school board last week. Support staff also sought a 6 percent wage increase.

No counter offer has been made by the board to either of these proposals. Insurance costs for the district increased by 8 percent.

Superintendent Delane Galvin reported that the board’s approved its upcoming budget for publication, with a total levy rate of $19.36 per $1,000 of taxable valuation. This is the same as last year. Final approval of the budget is expected at the board’s April meeting.

Enrollment at Melcher-Dallas Schools increased by 15 students. The number of students enrolled out of the district also went down, which has resulted in savings for the district.

The district reduced staff and support last year. Galvin said these reductions helped stabilize the district’s finances. The enrollment increase is another step the district is taking toward improving its financial position.

Though there were staff reductions last year, the current enrollment forced the district to add a second and third grade teacher, and a half-time preschool teacher. Melcher-Dallas will start offering all-day preschool next year.

Enrollment should increase again next year, as the district should graduate 16 students this year, and incoming kindergartners are expected to total 30.

At the end of June, when the district finished its financial report, there was a $34,000 carryover. Galvin’s goal is for the district to have $100,000 in carryover, which will ultimately bring its solvency ration up to 6-10 percent. The solvency ratio is important to the district’s ability to receive and balance funding.

The Iowa Department of Education recently performed its annual site visit to Melcher-Dallas Schools. Galvin said that the district has made great strides in its state reviews, with fewer issues identified by the State. Issues identified this year involved the lack of specifying age in the district’s Equal Opportunity Employment policy, and an issue with the district’s at-risk policy. The definition of “homeless student” needs to be posted in the right places to comply with State standards, Galvin said.

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Upon completion and reopening of Third Street, should the City of Knoxville wait to start the next stage of the Streetscape and Infrastructure project until 2015?

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