Negaunee Public Schools

November 19, 2007


Minutes of the Regular Meeting of the Board of Education, Negaunee Public Schools, City of Negaunee, County of Marquette, and State of Michigan, held on November 19, 2007, at the Negaunee High School Library.


Members Present: Fae Collins, Dan Hintsala, Virginia Paulson, Martin Renaldi, Dave Rice and Martin Saari


Member Absent:  Osmond T. Kemp


Administrators Present:

James Derocher, Superintendent

Bob Bonetti, High School Principal

Dan Skewis, Middle School Principal

Joe Meyskens, Lakeview Elementary School Principal

Mary Kay Johnson, Administrative Aide for Finance

Julie Dompierre, Recording Secretary


85.       The meeting was called to order by President Martin Renaldi at 7:00 p.m. 


86.       A quorum of the board was established.


87.       Motion by F. Collins, supported by M. Saari, to approve the agenda as presented.  Motion carried 6-0. 


88.       Public Comment:


Gerald Anderson, Band Director, discussed how changes in the girlsÕ and boysÕ winter sports has also affected the schedule for the band.  The band members will now play at 5 boys and 5 girls basketball games.  He also passed out a schedule of upcoming band performances to the Board. 


89.       Motion by V. Paulson, supported by D. Rice, to approve the minutes of the

regular meeting held on October 15, 2007.  Motion carried 6-0. 


90.       Motion by D. Rice, supported by D. Hintsala, to approve the Consent Items as presented.  Motion carried 6-0.


91.       Payment of Bills and Financial Reports:


A.        Motion by D. Rice, supported by V. Paulson, to approve the payment of bills totaling $639,601.85.  Motion carried 6-0.


B.        Motion by F. Collins, supported by D. Hintsala, to approve the Financial Report from the Administrative Aide for Finance, Mary Kay Johnson.  Motion carried 6-0.


92.       Written reports were received from the Community Education Director, and the High School Athletic Director.  Oral reports were received from Bob Bonetti, High School Principal, Dan Skewis, Middle School Principal, Joe Meyskens, Lakeview Elementary School Principal, and Superintendent Derocher. 


93.       Correspondence - None


94.       Old Business:


A.        Aaron Grove, the Wolgast Project Manager, updated the Board on the Lakeview School construction project.  A brief question and answer session followed.  The Board thanked Aaron for his support with the addition.  No action necessary.


B.        Superintendent Derocher informed the  Board that he and Mary Kay Johnson had meet with Superintendent Piereson, and his Business Manger, in order to discuss the consolidation of business services between the Negaunee and Ishpeming School District.  Superintendent Derocher explained that software is being reviewed to make any consolidation of services more practical.  A brief question and answer period followed.  No action necessary.        


95.       New Business:


A.        Superintendent Derocher informed the Board that John Blemberg,  Auditor, from the firm of Anderson, Tackman and Company, P.L.C. would be at the December Board meeting to review the 2006-07 audit, which the Board received in the November Board packet.  No action necessary.


B.        Motion by D. Hintsala, supported by F. Collins,  to pass the resolution to hold a Public Hearing on December 17, 2007, at 6:30 p.m., before the regular Board meeting, to designate the general election date.  Roll call vote 6 ayes, 0 nays.  Motion carried.    


C.        The Board held the first reading of the following Board Policy revisions/updates:  2421, 5136, 5460, 5540, 7440, and 9211.  The Board discussed policy number 5136 Cell Phones and Electronic Communication Devices.  They asked that Superintendent Derocher review this policy further.  No action necessary at this time.


D.        Superintendent Derocher discussed the fall parent-teacher conference reports.  No action necessary.


E.         Superintendent Derocher reviewed the number of School of Choice students with the Board.  A brief question and answer period followed.  No action necessary. 


F.         Coleen Allen, MESPA President, addressed the Board concerning a Seniority Class Action Grievance.  Ms. Allen stated that two employees were not given their seniority on the list (per page 30 in the MESPA Contract.)  She indicated that these individuals were awarded retirement hours but did not advance on both classification lists, even though they worked 1,020 hours.  She stated that this concern was brought up at contract negations.


Ms. Allen said that Kelly Ball worked 229 hours as a Non-instructional Aide, however, she did not advance on the Non-instructional Aide Seniority list.  Ms. Allen indicated that these hours were not recorded.  She also said that Kelly Ball and Mary Smith have worked full time in the past and they had advanced at the same rate on the seniority list.  However, Lori Carlson was hired at the same time as Kelly and she is now shown higher on the listing.  She stated that the language on the contract had not changed since 2002, but she was not involved in previous negations.  At this point Bonnie Stott, Aide/Union Representative, was consulted concerning past negations.


President Renaldi asked how is the seniority level determined when employees are hired on different dates of the same year?  Coleen said that seniority is determined by birth dates.  President Renaldi asked if that would be considered age discrimination?  He then again checked with Coleen concerning the lost 229 hours.  She confirmed that seniority was not given on the seniority list for  these hours, which is how Lori passed Kelly on the list.  Coleen passed out documentation, to the Board, concerning the seniority list.  Coleen said that due to the start time of school, that  some of the Aides are losing 15 minutes each day.  Coleen also stated that Mary Smith's Non-instructional time has not changed on the seniority list since 1991. Marty Saari said the seniority list was clearly distinguished between the two classifications.  


Superintendent Derocher confirmed, with the union, what contract language they were actually disputing.  Was it Article 11 Section IB 4?  Ted O'Dell, MESPA Union Respective, said yes.  Superintendent Derocher then addressed the Board regarding the 229 hours that seniority was not received on.  He stated that the hours were reported to the retirement system.  Superintendent Derocher explained that the contract language is very clear on this issue.  Seniority is only accrued on a position if 10 hours or more are worked per week.   Superintendent Derocher said that contract language states if 1020 hours are not reached seniority is prorated in the primary classification.  Superintendent Derocher also confirmed that the 1020 hours worked was used to calculate the employeeÕs step in determining their rate of pay per Section II.  Fae Collins questioned why the difference between Lori Carlson and Kelly Ball?


Superintendent Derocher said that Lori had accrued more hours in her primary classification.  He explained that the Aides hours are set before the school year on the PrincipalÕs recommendation.  However, hours are subject to change.  Superintendent Derocher said that the Aides are to mark their timecards indicating in what classification the hours are being accumulated.  These cards are approved by the building Principals and reviewed by Sue Koskey, Payroll Clerk.


Coleen indicated that Aides were not given a work schedule of Instructional and Non-instructional hours.  She feels that teaching begins when the Aides walk through the door.  Superintendent Derocher stated that according to contract language Article 3 states that management has the ability to change the work assignments of employees.  Mr. Meyskens, at the beginning of the school year, had informed the Superintendent that the 15 minutes before school started would not fall into the Instructional Aide Classification. Coleen said the unionÕs interpretation of the contract language is that the secondary job classification will receive seniority no matter how many hours are worked in that classification.  Marty Saari commented that contract language is understood by what is actually written and is not to be interpreted.  Dan Hintsala commented that the administration and union cannot interpret the language but must follow what is actually written.  Coleen said that the union feels that the seniority list should be changed because the way it stands someone may lose their job.


Motion by D. Hintsala, supported by F. Collins, to deny changing the Seniority List - Grievance #1.  Motion carried 6-0.     


Grievance #2 - MESPA - Mileage Issue - Coleen Allen informed the Board that past practice, for a Secretary, was to pay that individual for travel reimbursement between buildings.  She indicated that when an Instructional Aide had requested travel reimbursement she was denied.  The union believes that a precedent had been set because of this payment.


Superintendent Derocher stated that, yes, in error, this employee was reimbursed.  However, mistakes happen and the contract does not stipulate any payments for employees traveling between buildings.  Ted OÕDell stated by virtue of past practice a precedence was set.  President Renaldi asked if this was done twice was it considered a past practice?  Ted OÕDell said yes, it would stand in arbitration.  Coleen stated that an Instructional Aide had traveled between buildings and she was not reimbursed.  Bonnie Stott, staff member/union representative, stated that 3 Instructional Aides had submitted mileage reimbursements and had been denied. Superintendent Derocher stated that the administration can assign work between buildings and has the right to do so per the contract language.  He stated that the payment to the Secretary was an error and had denied the

payment to the Instructional Aide on June 8th and he had not heard anything until another Aide filed this grievance 149 days later.  He also said that teachers have been denied travel reimbursement between buildings because they had failed to submit their travel reimbursement requests in a timely basis and in the same school year.  Superintendent Derocher explained that he feels the union is trying to receive benefits that were not negotiated into the contract language.


Fae Collins asked why a grievance had not been filed sooner if these expenses were for the last school year.  Coleen stated that the employee contacted the main office but was told that Marcia was on sick leave.  She also said that the employee was told the reimbursement checks were issued each quarter.  When Coleen was asked, by the Board, who told her about the quarterly reimbursement she said the Secretary who was receiving the reimbursement told her.  This was not stated by anyone in administration.


Motion by M. Saari, supported by V. Paulson, to deny Grievance #2.  Motion carried 6-0.


G.        Motion by F. Collins, supported by M. Saari, to approve the following Schedule B positions as follows: 


                        Gymnastics:  Assistant Coach                    Kaitlin Pietila

                                               Volunteer Coach                  Kristin Pietila


                        Cheerleading:  JV Coach                           Maryann Johnson

                                                Volunteer Advisor             Jodi Mattson


                        JV GirlÕs Basketball:  Volunteer Coach    Mary Ellen (Poutanen)



                        Assistant Hockey Coach:                    Todd Beauchamp


Motion carried 6-0.


H.        Motion by M. Saari, supported by D. Rice, to hire Tomas Talsma as a Bus Driver.  Motion carried 4-2.


I.          Superintendent Derocher informed the Board that he had received a resignation letter from Jamie Skewis, District Nurse, and he has posted the position in the Mining Journal.  Also,  a letter of retirement was received from Judy Wiig, a High School Teacher, she will resign at the beginning of the second semester.  Her position will be filled by a long-term substitute teacher.  No action necessary.


96.       Public Comment - None


97.       Other Business - None


98.       Motion by D. Rice, supported by D. Hintsala, to adjourn the meeting at 9:49.  Motion carried 6-0.




                 _________________________         _________________________

                       Martin Renaldi, President                  Virginia Paulson, Secretary