Leiker asks for pay cut

Money saved pays for teacher raises

News editor

USD 408 cut Superintendent Lee Leiker’s salary 5 percent to $95,000 a year, after the school board spent 40 minutes in closed session Monday night.

President Chris Sprowls said Leiker had recommended the cut because of foreseen budget difficulties.

“I think we’re in for some very challenging times financially in this district,” Leiker said after the meeting.

Sprowls said it was the first time he had heard an employee request a pay cut because of economic hardships. One member, Lyle Leppke, voted against the cut.

Enrollment has declined steadily for a decade or more, and less state aid is likely. With tough decisions ahead, Leiker said he wanted to lead by example, being the first one to make a sacrifice.

Leiker’s pay cut will offset part of a $200 across-the-board raise for teachers. The board approved the raise as part of a negotiated master contract with teachers. Middle school Principal Missy Stubenhofer’s salary was increased $1,500 to $57,530. The board also approved a $500 raise for aquatics center director Greta Smith.

Nicotine cut from drug tests

The board voted to continue random drug testing at the middle and high schools but to stop testing for nicotine. Of about 200 tests this past year, 15 tested positive for nicotine, and nicotine accounted for more than 90 percent of all positive drug tests, high school Principal Tod Gordon said. Most of the expense of the program is the cost of confirming preliminary positive results.

Board member Sarah Cope asked whether chances of testing the same student repetitively could be reduced.

Gordon said it was important that students not think they have a free pass after being tested.

$75,000 for technology

The board approved spending up to $75,000 on computer technology, including upgrades to wireless networks, replacement of 25 desktop computers, upgrading large monitors to flatscreens, and updating software, and other expenses. A $34,000 grant for rural education from the federal government will pay part of the cost.

The district now replaces computers every five or six years instead of every three or four years.

Team to sell calendars

Volleyball team members Kaelyn Thierolf, Megan Richmond, and Katey Ehrlich received permission to print and sell school calendars with pictures of its sports teams to raise money for team equipment. They plan the calendars to generate $8 of profit per sale.

The team plans to print the calendars in Wichita. The district stopped mass-producing calendars to cut expenses. Previously the district paid a local business to print calendars, which were given out free.

Handbook changes

The board approved policy changes that will move daily assemblies at the elementary school to 8:15 a.m., require tutoring for middle school students who have an F, and order detention for high school students who have more than two tardies in a semester.

The board clarified that middle school lunch is closed. Stubenhofer said 19- and 20-year-old males have eaten at the school under the guise of eating with a relative when they actually were flirting with 12- and 13-year-olds.

 

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