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CSD considers admission benefit for staff members

Board will vote on proposal at January meeting

December 18, 2013

INDEPENDENCE — The Central School Board approved the first reading of the policy, "Admissions to District Events," at its Monday meeting.

The board will decide whether to adopt the policy at its January meeting.

The policy would allow employees of the district, plus one guest, free entry to district events.

The issue came up during negotiations between the district and the Central Education Association, according to a Dec. 1 blog post by CEA president Ben Gorman.

In the blog, he said teachers and classified staff were upset that select teachers and community members had access to high-quality gym equipment at the high school, as well as free admission to district events.

"In an effort to address this inequity, we proposed language which is similar to that found in other districts, which would grant teachers access to these school events so they could: cheer on former students; provide some added supervision; and, because many would bring family members, actually increase attendance at these events," Gorman said in the blog.

District officials did not want to put the language in the contract, because then they would have to add it to the classified contract as well, a contract which was already ratified, Gorman said.

According to the blog, district officials offered to remedy the situation through policy instead.

The policy first introduced to the board included giving board members and one guest free admission.

Some board members at the meeting were not in favor of giving teachers, staff and board members free admission to district events.

"I really struggled with this, a lot, because I'm an old lady who's been in this district a long time," said chairwoman Kathy Zehner, "

She said with her children, grandchildren and neighbor's children, she has paid for every football game and musical, because she felt like that was one way she could contribute to the district.

Zehner expressed concern for those students whose families are on low incomes.

"I know there are people who can't come," she said. "I really struggle with it. I don't feel like I'm better than anybody else."

Board member Jerry Shinkle suggested removing board members from the list of those who had free access.

"That way we're not voting ourselves a raise," Shinkle said. "If you just eliminated the board members, it doesn't look like we're going to cash in on another perk."

Zehner also said she didn't understand why the policy allowed one guest.

Superintendent Buzz Brazeau said it would be nice to bring a spouse to an event.

"We take enough time as it is from our staff," he said. "There are people who can't afford it. It would be nice if you were bringing a spouse along with you to enjoy something that was an extension of your job."

In January or February, Brazeau said administration will be bringing a request to reduce participation fees substantially, which will help families with low incomes.

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