© 2024 WXPR
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Hourly Employees At LUHS Will Continue To Receive Paychecks

Wikimedia Commons GPReimer

MINOCQUA – Hourly employees at Lakeland Union High School District will continue to receive paychecks through the current school year, following action Monday by the school board.

During Monday’s meeting – attended via teleconferencing (only board president Ed Schaub was in the regular meeting room with a few staff) – members unanimously approved extending wages and benefits through June 7. Although the school building is closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, teachers and other staff are still providing instruction to students and other services to the district, said District Administrator Rob Way.

In some ways, cutting off their paychecks would still cost the district money. Those employees would apply for unemployment insurance, which comes partially out of the employer’s pocket. Furloughed full- time employees would continue to receive district health insurance, retirement contributions, etc. “My recommendation is to continue regular pay to hourly employees, based on the regular school instructional calendar, from April 15 through June 7,” said Way, who outlined the work they are doing. “Many of our hourly employees are taking ongoing professional development. Many of our employees are supporting students in a one-to-one situation, or in their virtual or remote classes. Paraprofessionals are being added to the regular education. Case managers continue to hold hours in the form of Google Hangout (web conferencing).

“Many of our hourly employees are helping with meal delivery (to students),” as well as delivering worksheets and jump drives to those without Internet access, he added. “I believe that cleaning the school and getting a jump start on some of our summer projects can be utilized for some of our hourly employees.”

At Way’s recommendation, the board also approved paying coaches of spring sports and advisors one-third of the stipend they normally would have received. Way said the coaches and aides had put in time preparing for the spring season, as well as helping individual athletes despite the lack of games. Way said coaches are monitoring students “to help maintain a healthy mindset and to stay on top of their learning.”

Noting that many districts in the conference, as well across the state, are paying partial stipends, Way said, “We think this is the right thing to do.”

Board member Shari Nimsgern asked if the district would receive compensation for continuing to pay staff from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES), which is providing an estimated $2 trillion stimulus package to battle the harmful effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Director of financial services Greg Kopp said it’s a possibility, although the federal government hasn’t given any clear information in that regard.

Taking care of business

Way reported that the district’s health insurance premiums will go up by only 2.8 percent next school year. LUHS and its four feeder elementary schools contract as a group (Lakeland Co-op) in seeking health insurance coverage for their employees. Single coverage will be $888 monthly, up from $863; family coverage will be $1,161 monthly, up from $1,908. The district’s annual bill will be $2,192,368, up $59,721 from the current year. Employees pay a portion of the premium.

In another contract matter, the board approved the 2020-21 shared service contact with the Cooperative Educational Service Agency No. 9. The agency provides programs, resources and staff deemed specialized or too costly for member districts to provide on their own. The $33,285 includes about $13,000 in administrative services, about $14,000 for school improvement services, and about $5,700 for career and technical education assistance.

Resignations accepted

In other actions, the board accepted the resignations of the following: Mike Effinger, technology and engineering instructor; Kathleen Finucane, manager/head cook (retiring); Matt Krueger, football offensive coordinator; Stephanie O’Brien, assistant gymnastics coach, and Lynette Soulier, special education paraprofessional.

Up North Updates
* indicates required
Related Content