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Frazee School Board needs to show, not tell

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I have repeatedly stated that we need honesty from our Administration and School Board to build trust in our school. Trust then builds loyalty and pride in our school.

I have insisted on being shown the facts and not just being told them.

At the Monday, Aug. 9, School Board Meeting, as part of the Superintendent's Report, Stender clarified his hiring practice. He stated that they always hired the best candidate, the best person, regardless of who they are or where they're from. This evidently was to clarify to the public who questioned why members of Stender's, Nudell's, Thorp's, Cook's and Erickson's families have been hired and paid on independent contracts.

Ms. Erickson's 2009-10 contract stated that "Salary shall be $30,000 for the 2009-2010 year."

It also stated that "The Business Office Assistant's basic duty year shall be 260 days per year (52 weeks)."

At the Aug. 9 School Board meeting, board member Richard Ziegler said that by the contract wording and his own understanding of the contract's intent, that Ms. Erickson would be paid 11/12 of the $30,000 because she started August 3, 2009, and worked 11 months of the year. That would equal $27,500 for the 11 months. Nancy Dashner questioned Ziegler's expertise on contract language and disagreed with him. She felt Erickson should be paid $30,000 for the 11 months worked. Cook agreed and I guess it was decided.

I listened to a tape recording of the Monday, June 28 School Board Meeting. A portion was improperly closed to discuss independent contracts, therefore a tape recording had to be made available to the public. It began at 8:10 a.m. with the School Board and Stender and Koslofsky in attendance. Stender speaks, "I'll be honest -- I saw the teachers put the squeeze on the school board. I saw the teachers get what they wanted to get. I saw the teachers get -- a better settlement than what I thought should have been offered for what we got."

Stender states that one independent contract person is on a 48-week contract. Board member, D. Cook, says, "To soften the blow -- $30,000 to a full-year contract at 52 weeks." He continues, "That way you can say the actual percentage increase is less. Then give her a month off of paid vacation.

In the tape recording from the June 28, 2010, School Board Meeting: Stender says Independent contract people had, "Hard freezes, every single one of them. Actually had hard freezes, not these soft freezes like the teachers get -- no lane changes -- no such thing for independent contracts. They should get what the teachers get."

In the Frazee Forum report of the Friday, August 13th, School Board meeting it states: Business Manager Donna Mineer stated the independent contracts took a freeze in salary for 2009-10, while the teachers received raises that year and will again during the next two school years.

"The at-will employees took a freeze for the first year thinking it would encourage a lower settlement with the union," Mineer noted.

The report continues: School Board member Keith Janu said he wouldn't mind Jepson's "proposal" if the independent contract holders hadn't taken a freeze in the last contract. "A true freeze," Thorp interjected. "They had no steps and lanes."

Let's look at some 2009-2010 independent contract freezes:

Lori Thorp: Salary increase of $10,000; paid yearly days off (15 days) $2,019; paid banked days off (60 days) $8,077; health Insurance increase $150; technology (telephone) stipend added, $720; increase in life insurance from $20,000 to $150,000... Total: $20,966 plus life insurance increase=84 percent+Life Insurance increase.

Diane Menz: Salary increase of performance pay, $1,000; 3 additional paid vacation days, $582; one additional paid personal day, $194; increase paid by school district to 403b Match, $1,030...Total: $2,806+12 Fridays off=5.6 percent+12 Fridays off.

Donna Mineer: Salary increase of performance pay, $1,000; three additional paid vacation days, $582; one additional paid personal day, $194; increase paid by school district to 403b Match, $810...Total: $2,586+12 Fridays off=5.1 percent+12 Fridays off

Troy Haugen: Mr. Haugen received much greater flexibility in 2009-10 by getting changed from sick days to paid days off.

His 2009-10 Salary remained the same as he didn't get Performance Pay.

He became a full-time Dean of Students in 2007-08. His salary has increased from $57,700 to $71,546.

This would be a salary increase of $13,846 over three years, or $4,615 per year -- a total percentage salary increase of 24 percent over three years, or 8 percent per year.

Diane Menz: Her salary in the 2006-07 school year (not counting other benefits) was $ 38,730.

Her salary for the 2010-2011 school year (not counting other benefits) is $ 53,340.

This would be a salary increase of $14,610 over four years, or $3,653 per year -- a total percentage salary increase of 37.7 percent over four years or 9.4 percent per year.

Her contract also states that, "Upon retirement, the School District shall provide the Business Manager with health and hospitalization insurance coverage for four years."

At the current contract, this would be an amount equal to $30,600.

Donna Mineer: Her salary in the 2006-2007 school year (not counting other benefits) was $ 42,744.

Her salary for the 2010-2011 school year (not counting other benefits) is $ 53,340.

This would be a salary increase of $10,596 over four years, or $2,649 per year -- a total percentage salary increase of 24.8 percent over four years or 6.2 percent per year.

Her contract also states that, "Upon retirement, the School District shall provide the Business Manager with health and hospitalization insurance coverage for four years.

At the current contract, this would be an amount equal to $30,600.

This is why we need to be shown and not told. -- Jim Nelson, Frazee

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