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Muskego School Board OKs handbook

Officials, teachers wrangled over certain benefits

Aug. 21, 2012

Muskego - Teachers in the Muskego-Norway School District officially have a 2012-13 employee handbook, following action by the School Board on Monday.

The collection of documents offers a similar level of benefits from the past school year, including coverage for health and dental insurance, long-term disability care, paid time off and retirement compensation.

Before acting on the teacher handbook, board members wrangled over some of the specifics, including a provision about banking sick leave - a benefit Superintendent Kelly Thompson said has not been heavily used in the past.

"We denied some teachers' requests last year because they didn't go through the process," Thompson said, referring to the steps outlined in the Family Medical Leave Act.

The board's motion in favor of adopting the 2012-13 teacher handbook came with a caveat. Thompson has to include language indicating current sick leave allocations will remain frozen at the current rate of 90 days until further notice.

Comparison to other districts

While the handbook has been approved, the board and administration will continue to review employment and benefit terms in years ahead. The in-depth examination will kick off at the Committee of the Whole meeting next month and continue into the foreseeable future.

Board member Eric Schroeder said he would like to see comparables, in terms of what other surrounding school districts offer for employee benefits.

"I want us to be competitive," Schroeder said. "But I'm thinking we maybe should look at what other districts are doing."

Liberal use of sick days

Teachers currently do not receive paid time off through vacation. But Thompson said there are other classifications, including sick days, personal time, funeral leave and business.

Board member Rick Petfalski said he would like to see the list of permissible examples surrounding sick days reigned in.

"As it stands, the sick days are pretty liberal in how they can be used," Petfalski said.

The sick day accrual procedure will be closely tied to the district's review of retirement premiums, Thompson said.

"We'll be talking about all of these specifics at the next (Committee of the Whole) meeting," Thompson said. "This will definitely be something we look at as we address retirement."

Schroeder said he would like further review of the sick day accrual procedure that has been in place.

"I don't know if it's in our best interest," Schroeder said of the ability to bank and reallocate days elsewhere.

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