Board OKs Bertrang’s new contract

NEW ULM – The District 88 Board of Education on Thursday approved a new three-year contract with Superintendent Jeff Bertrang.

The salary increases will be $4,500, $5,000, and $3,000.

Bertrang’s current contracted salary is $127,500.

The district retirement plan contribution will increase to $3,000 from $2,000, again to match the principals, in the first two years; then $1,000 will be added the third year.

Vacation days will increase to 24, from 20, also matching principals’ contracts.

The new provisions translate into an average 4 percent annual increase in district costs.

Washington

School projects

The board also approved about $1.8 million in contracts to remodel Washington School.

The Washington School projects seek to turn the school into an early and community education center.

The larger of the individual contracts include: $721,000 for mechanical work, awarded to Javens Mechanical Contracting of Mankato; $389,000 for demo, carpentry, doors, frames, and hardware, awarded to Heymann Construction Company of New Ulm; and $157,000 for concrete work, also to Heymann.

Consultants said they saw good local participation in bidding.

In a related matter, Bertrang reported that remodeling projects at Washington and Jefferson schools include a lot of plumbing work, which will require the buildings to be shut down for the summer to any staff or summer programming.

Administrators are working to identify locations in the future middle school (present high school) for all site offices, the summer childcare program, lunch program, summer school programs, and camps.

There may be a time the middle school is shut down for remodeling, moving and cleaning, said Bertrang. A plan and schedule will be published in April.

Calendar

The board approved a calendar for next year. School will start Sept. 12 and end June 2, 2017.

The remodeling projects were a key factor when deciding the calendar, said Bertrang.

Two weeks of “wiggle room” are built into the calendar because of the magnitude of the construction projects.

Staff will spend the week of Sept. 1 unpacking and setting up rooms, and the week of Labor Day in workshops, getting acquainted in the new site teams, and finishing set-up.

“I feel that if there are not enough days upfront for teachers to prepare for all the new things we are doing, we will fall flat,” said Bertrang.

The other new element in the calendar are mid-trimester breaks at the new middle school.

Overall, students will be in school for 168 days next year, which is within state requirements.

Assistant principals hired

The board hired Jamie Boelter as middle school assistant principal and program director, and Julie Hull as Jefferson Elementary assistant principal. The salaries of both were set at $84,822.

Interviews of candidates for assistant high school principals will take place Monday.

Offices moved

The district administration has moved into temporary offices at the Thriveon Building, Bertrang also told the board.

All offices that were at the former middle school, now State Street Theater, are at this new location.

The district also has storage rooms for supplies and equipment.

Two semi-trailers containing theater items (costumes, set materials) and larger district equipment are now parked at Jefferson School until the construction projects are completed.

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