All employees of the School of the Osage district will get a raise next year.
The board of education Monday night approved the salary recommendation of Superintendent Brent Depeé, which bumps certified staff (teachers) one step up on the experience schedule and gives classified staff (secretaries, food service, maintenance, etc.) a 2.5 percent raise for the coming school year.
Included in the package is a $600 increase in base salary for starting teachers with no experience to $35,250, and a $10 increase in board-paid health insurance premiums ($375-$385/month).
Total additional cost to the district is estimated at $372,900.
The school district’s retirement incentive program was also tweaked to encourage older teachers to retire early. Effective next year, teachers who give notice of retirement as of March 1 will receive $6,000, as of April 1 $4,000, as of May 1 $2,000 and as of June 1 $1,000. Teachers must meet certain age and experience requirements before they are eligible to retire.
Depeé said the administration is monitoring income and expenses closely, and the assessed valuation of the district which has been flat for several years. Districts rely largely on property tax for income and years with little or no increases in valuations impact tax revenue.
The school district has been forced to subsidize its self-funded health insurance escrow twice in the last two years as both prescription and medical costs have increased.
Depeé told the board the goal is to maintain a $700,000 balance in the account. The balance as of March 31 was $328,000, although there are indications that could increase as prescription demands decline.
The superintendent said he has discussed both the health escrow and salary issues with the staff. When comparing Osage’s numbers with those at Versailles, Eldon and Camdenton, “it’s been an eye-opener for our employees” when they realize the quality of the Osage program.
To help improve the escrow balance, the board approved a change in the prescription plan co-pay, which will save about $43,000, and increased the board-paid insurance premiums by $10/month, which will add about $36,000 to the fund.
A change in the health plan and improved monitoring of the prescription plan have already been implemented.
“We’ll wait a year and see how this all shakes out,” Depeé said. “If there isn’t any improvement, we may have to come in and supplement it again.” Another option is to and/or increase monthly premiums or out-of pocket expenses.
With the April 2 election results certified, the previous board of education was dismissed, and the new board was given the oath of office. Leaving the board was Allison Schneider, who was filling the unexpired term of Rocky Miller who was elected to the Missouri House of Representatives in November.
Page 2 of 2 - Elected to fill two open seats were incumbent B.J. Page and new board member Dale Law.
Page was re-elected president of the board, and Mary Whitman vice president. Steven Hermann was named board delegate to the Missouri School Boards Association with Kathy Vance as alternate. Rod Miller was re-named board treasurer.
Tim Jacobson, executive director of the Convention and Visitors Bureau, presented a check to the board as remaining proceeds from Eagle Days in January. The school allowed the CVB and Eagle Days to use the Heritage Building for part of its program.