It's hard to believe that the first nine weeks is over! Time is really flying by. I wanted to share a district update with you:
1. Negotiations: We have finalized a date for our negotiations team to meet. It will be on October 30. More information to come, but we are looking forward to working to conclude the process.
2. Bond Projects: The work on the baseball & softball turf fields will begin in the next couple of weeks. These projects are scheduled to be completed by the spring sports season. The winning bid for the fields & related work is within the budgeted amount.
The bids for the classroom additions at the five elementary schools will be due in the near future also. The work on the elementaries will start in late November/early December, with completion by the start of the 2018-19 school year.
We are working on securing land for the new Meadowlark Elementary. Once a purchase has been completed, we will let you know.
Recently some members of the AHS staff and our architects from SJCF toured Olathe West and Lansing High Schools to see schools that have been recently built. Thanks to those staff members for spending the day gathering ideas and sharing input. In the coming weeks, some Meadowlark staff members will also have the opportunity to see new elementary schools as planning is done for MES
3. Substitute Teacher Pay: As the shortage of teachers in the state has increased over the past few years, likewise, it has been increasingly difficult to fill substitute teacher needs. I hear often from teachers and principals about the inconvenience that comes when we aren't able to fill all the vacancies on a given day. Educator plan times are very important, and it is a burden to be asked on short notice to cover a class. At the October BOE meeting, the decision was made to increase sub pay from $85/day to $95/day. This enables us to be competitive with area districts, most of whom pay at least $95/day. We believe this will increase the number of substitute teachers we have for our district, allowing us to better fill the vacancies.
Thanks for all you do for our district. Have a great weekend!
Good morning Staff,
I wanted to let you know that last night, the BOE approved Hutton Construction as our Construction Manager At Risk for the bond projects. It is an outstanding company with lots of school experience. We are thrilled to partner with Hutton.
As mentioned in my update to staff last Friday, one of the action items presented and approved at last evening's agenda was moving forward with a 2.9% compensation enhancement for classified and administrators, along with substantially increasing the district health contribution, currently $316 per month.
The premiums for the new health insurance plan year begin coming out of classified paychecks on October 31, and on November 15 for all other staff. The tiered district health contribution approved last evening for classified and administrators will be $430/month for employee, $530/month for employee & spouse or employee & dependent plans, & $630/month for family health plans.
This is the same compensation enhancement percentage and health plan contribution increase as proposed to AEA on August 30 (2.9% compensation & 1.9% estimated health benefit enhancement, for a total of 4.8%). This is summarized on slides 6-8.
Here is the link to the presentation from Russ Miller at last night's meeting. It does a great job of summarizing the negotiations meetings thus far, as well as showing the BOE & AEA current positions going into the impasse meeting, which will be held on September 20. It also provides the recommendation that was approved for classified and administrators last evening.
Have a great day, and, as always, let us know if you have questions or if we can provide assistance.
Greetings Andover Team-
Thanks for a great start to the school year! It's hard to believe we are in September. I apologize for the length of this, but it is important to me to keep you in the loop. Here are some updates that I want to share with all of you:
Bond Projects: It's an exciting time in the district as we continue work on our bond projects. Monday's BOE meeting will be extremely important. The BOE will take action on the recommendation from the selection committee on the Construction Manager At Risk for the USD 385 bond projects. Yesterday the committee interviewed four finalists: Coonrod & Associates, Crossland Construction, Dondlinger Construction, & Hutton Construction.
The BOE will also take action on the recommendation to contract with Icon Structures to serve as the Owner's Representative/Bond Projects Manager for the district during the projects. This is a vital role with responsibilities in all facets of the projects. Some of the major responsibilities that the Owner's Representative will have include:
* Assisting with project phasing and timeline development
* Monitoring and approving construction schedules
* Processing contingency changes during the construction process & reviewing payment applications
* Construction site visits
* Scheduling site coordination meetings and attending Owner-Architect-Contractor meetings
* Working in areas related to planning/plotting/land acquisition
* Attending design review meetings
* Evaluating bid proposals
* Ensuring compliance with construction and safety statutes and contractual obligations
* Involvement in the budget, scheduling, and operational aspects of the projects
In addition, our architects from Schaefer, Johnson, Cox, Frey are working on the designs for the elementary additions for five of our elementary schools (CES, PCES, RMES, SES, & WES). Construction will begin this fall to add classrooms, cafeteria renovations, and re-design of the front entrances to enhance safety. The elementary projects will be completed this summer.
Other projects in the design stage include the district tennis complex, middle school tracks, & baseball/softball turf fields.
Health Insurance Renewal: The district has a benefits committee comprised of classified staff, certified staff, & administrators who work with IMA, our benefits broker. IMA sent our health insurance out to bid this year, because for the past two years our claims have far exceeded the premiums that Aetna, our current health insurance provider, has taken in.
Aetna's original quote was a 47% increase over our current premiums. IMA & the benefits committee evaluated several quotes from different companies, and negotiated with the companies to find the best plan for our employees. In the end, the committee selected Blue Cross Blue Shield to be the provider, effective on the renewal date of December 1. There will be an increase of about 28%, which is significant, but much lower than the initial quote received from Aetna.
There will be information coming in the near future about open enrollment employee meetings where the new benefit plans will be explained. I highly encourage everyone to attend one of these meetings. Look for information in the next week on the times and dates for the open enrollment meetings.
I know that many of you have asked about the negotiations process, so I wanted to give you an update. At our most recent negotiations meeting with AEA on August 30, the BOE offered an increase in salary and benefits of approximately 4.8% The exact percent would be determined by the number of certified staff who elected to sign up for health insurance, so it could be slightly higher or lower than 4.8%.
The salary portion of the package would be 2.9% ($505,000). It would provide certified staff experience step and educational column movement, which is about $270,000. In addition, an increase would be given in the rate for certified staff members who cover other teachers' classes during their plan time. The BOE offer also included an increase to each cell of the salary schedule that could be either $650 on each cell of the schedule, or a range between $500-$826 for each staff member, depending on where the staff member is on the schedule. With the second option, the percentage increase would be the same, but the dollar amount would be different based on placement (the further over and down someone is on the schedule, the higher the dollar amount).
In addition, the BOE offered to increase the district contribution for health insurance. One of the priorities of our Board of Education and District is to increase the district contribution for employees, because the new health insurance premiums will begin coming out of employees' paychecks on October 31 for those paid every two weeks, and on November 15 for those paid once a month. The BOE proposal was to increase the contributions in a tiered approach as follows:
Employee only plans - increase contribution from $316 per month to $430 per month
Employee/Spouse & Employee/Children plans - increase contribution from $316 per month to $530 per month
Family plans - increase contribution from $316 per month to $630 per month
For certified staff, this proposal would be an increased cost to the district of $331,560 per year.
Thus, the total salary/benefits package for certified staff would have been approximately $836,560 (4.8%).
AEA presented a counter offer of step & column movement, $430 district contribution for all health plan options (employee, employee/spouse, employee/children & family), increasing sub pay for teachers covering during plan periods, but not including that in the calculation of the total package, and adding 8% to every cell of the salary schedule. The offer from AEA would have been $270,000 in step/column movement plus approximately $266,000 in the non-tiered insurance package, plus approximately $1,389,315 for an 8% compensation increase to each cell of the schedule. The offer from AEA totaled approximately $1,925,315, which is approximately 11.1%.
The teams declared impasse at the conclusion of the August 30 meeting. The next step in the process is a meeting with a federal mediator. No date has yet been set for this meeting.
I have attached the August 30 meeting minutes if you would like more detailed information on negotiations.
The district will move forward with recommending to the BOE on Monday to approve a 2.9% compensation increase for classified staff and administrators as well as the increased health insurance premiums as outlined above (the same proposal the BOE made at the August 30 session with AEA).
Lots going on across the district. Thanks for all you do, and have a relaxing weekend.
Four years ago, I started this journey as your superintendent and it is amazing how quickly time passes. I'm so grateful for the opportunity to work with you and want to thank all of you for your support, dedication and professionalism. Being the superintendent of the best school district in Kansas has been a great honor.
The 2016-17 school year has been another good one and that doesn't happen without professional, caring adults doing an outstanding job, every day. There is no doubt you believe in our school district and our students and with the overwhelming passage of the bond issue, our community sent a huge message of how much they believe in you.
I write this today, on the last, "last day of school" of my career, grateful for the opportunity to spend time with you. Together, we have accomplished so much and I have all the confidence in the world that Brett White will not only help you stay on top, but bring many more enhancements for our students, employees and community. Andover has a bright future!!
Thank you for being the positive energy I needed to keep fighting the good fight for PUBLIC education in Andover and the state of Kansas. You are a special group of people and I will miss seeing you. My last official day is June 29, so for those who will be around this summer, I'll see you again. For those leaving this week, I wish you well. Keep believing in yourselves and keep believing in your ability to make a difference in the lives of young people in Andover! All the best and thank you.
Greetings Andover School District Family!
As April comes to a close, the end of the year is within sight. Between now and then, there are so many great things happening. Please take a moment away from all the "busyness" and make some special, end of the year memories with students, parents and colleagues!
People often judge the success of an organization by looking at the finished product and this week we got some good news about our "finished product", our high school students. U.S. News and World Report rated ACHS and AHS as two of the best high schools in Kansas! Follow this link. Congrats to everyone and specifically, staff/students at ACHS and AHS! Another example of "Andover Excellence"!!
On Monday, May 1 the Board of Education will hold their annual Awards and Retirement event. ACHS Auditorium - 7:00 p.m. Stop by and help the BOE honor these outstanding individuals and community partners.
Occasionally I'm asked about the status of school finance in Topeka. At this point, nothing is settled and I don't expect it to be until the end of May. However, the district is preparing to go into the 2017-18 school year as we would any other year. Current proposals before the Legislature would increase funding for schools, though not as much as we would like and when it all shakes out, the district will be fine. We have many education supporters in Topeka and I expect them to prevail in the end.
The May 9 Bond Issue is fast approaching and creating a great deal of excitement in the community. I hope you're hearing the same positive, supportive comments that I'm hearing about the bond. The district has a great reputation and that reputation is paying huge dividends. No doubt our community is supportive of our schools and I'm confident they will vote accordingly on May 9. Please do everything you can do to encourage our parents and community members to get educated and VOTE! There are plenty of supporters out there and we need them to vote. The items in this bond will add tremendous value to the district and position us for many successful years to come! Thanks for your support!
Have a great weekend!