Board debates keeping building and ground director’s positionCloquet School Board members face a decision of whether or not they want to keep the buildings and grounds director’s position in the district. The current building and grounds director, Rob Carr, will leave his position with the district on Jan. 7, 2011, to work for HydroKlean in Duluth. The school board now has to decide whether or not they want to fill the position after Carr leaves, or simply eliminate the position within the district.
By: Wendy Johnson, Pine Journal
Cloquet School Board members face a decision of whether or not they want to keep the buildings and grounds director’s position in the district.
The current building and grounds director, Rob Carr, will leave his position with the district on Jan. 7, 2011, to work for HydroKlean in Duluth. The school board now has to decide whether or not they want to fill the position after Carr leaves, or simply eliminate the position within the district.
The buildings and grounds director’s position was originally created to help save the district money. While it costs the district around $79,000 in salary and benefit costs, around $20,000 of that is funded from health and safety money from the state.
Despite the state money, the school board may choose not to refill the position, which could save the district money.
“Despite what you might recognize as early savings, this turning point will cost you time, money, and quality of buildings and grounds if you choose not to replace [this position],” Carr wrote in a letter to the school board.
When the position was created, it saved the district $71,079. A full-time custodian was replaced with a part-time cleaner, saving $36,947 in salary, benefits and vacation time. Also, prior to hiring a buildings and grounds director, a custodian had to serve as the head custodian of the Garfield building, costing the district $10,382 in overtime costs. Those totals, along with the amount of the buildings and grounds director salary that is funded by the state, added up to more than $71,000 savings.
Having the position also keeps overtime costs down because the director is paid a salary (and therefore doesn’t receive overtime pay when called in to work outside of the normal workday). When a head custodian responds to an emergency call, the minimum for each call is $112.50. When the director responds, there is no extra cost.
Board members were
supposed to vote on whether
or not to post the position for others to fill during the Dec. 20 meeting, but pulled the item off the agenda during the working session to vote on at the next school board meeting on Jan. 10.
In other agenda business, school board members unanimously approved the certification of the tax levy.
A “Truth in Taxation” public meeting was held last Monday to educate the community on how the tax levy works and how it could affect them. Business Manager Kim Josephson reported the meeting went well and that there was one couple with a few questions who were helped out by the presentation.
The 2011 levy total is approximately $3.6 million. That is down from the previous year’s tax levy, which was closer to $4 million. The fact that asbestos abatement was completed during the previous tax period is a big reason for that drop in community taxes.
And on a side note, this board meeting was the last for board members Ron Gittings and Rose Scheuer. Gittings has served on the board since Sept. 2007. Sheuer served starting in June 2009. Their terms end Dec. 31, 2010.
“The thanks you receive is from our kids when you see what they’re doing and what they’re all about,” said Superintendent Ken Scarbrough. “I know it’s a hard job and you don’t get a lot of kudos for it.”
Two new board members – Dan Danielson and Dave Battaglia – will start at the beginning of the new year, and will serve on their first school board meeting on Jan. 10, 2011. The newly-elected board members will join sitting incumbents Gary Huard, James Crowley and Duane Buytaert on the Cloquet School Board.