The Glasgow Courier - Serving Proudly As The Voice Of Valley County Since 1913

By Georgie Kulczyk
The Courier 

School Board Discusses Substitute Teacher Pay Program


The Glasgow School Board met in regular session on Oct. 12. The meeting was held at the Irle School following a meal for the trustees.

Benji Phillips began the meeting with a student report and discussed projects and events that FCCLA, Honor Society, G-Club and Key Club are all working on or have participated in recently. Phillips also reminded those present that the State Student Council Convention is set to be held in Glasgow at the end of October and housing is needed for attendees. Student council members will also be asking for donations of food and water from local businesses.

Following board approval to hire Marlan Lee for route bus driver, Gordon Hahn for activity bus driver, and Janae Zerbe for substitute teacher/aide, the board began discussion about a substitute teacher pay program. The program would allow an additional $10 per day of pay to substitute teachers that complete required coursework and pass an exam. Several concerns and comments were voiced by school employees in attendance.

Concerns included the affect such a program would have on the retention of aides that work at the schools. LeeAnne Billingsley pointed out that there is an aide that has worked in the system for six years and makes just barely more than new substitute teachers. She added that there is a possibility that current aides will opt to be substitute teachers and they may lose aides because of it. “We need our aides,” she said. Billingsley further advocated for the aides by noting that they did not receive a raise for this school year, which makes them feel unappreciated. School clerk Kelly Doornek pointed out that there are benefits offered to the aides that aren’t offered to substitute teachers.

Noting that all long-term subs will be paid $10 more dollars a day, which could add up to a substantial figure, and questioning how the program would be funded, Billingsley said, “We were told there wasn’t any more money.”

Another concern was whether or not a person that passes the program would be able to apply what they learn in the work setting. “There’s a difference between having a certificate and being able to apply what you’ve learned,” said Kim Girard.

Trustees Suzanne Billingsley and Alison Molvig asked for clarification about the number of substitutes utilized during a week at the high school and why there was such a need for so many subs. Specific numbers were not available as to how many subs are used, but Irle School Principal Rachel Erickson cited maternity leave, sick leave and funerals as some of the reasons substitutes are needed.

Further discussion was held about unknowns, like whether or not the extra pay would even garner more substitutes for the district, what the actual cost would be if the program was implemented, and the overall potential success of the program. “You never know until you try it,” said GHS Principal Brett Huntsman.

Eventually it was decided to table the agenda item to allow trustees more time to learn about the program. “If you think this will help you, I need to know that,” said trustee John Daggett.

Moving on to the next agenda item, Kim Girard reported briefly on GEA happenings, explaining that staff attended educational sessions on Oct. 4. Positive feedback about the sessions included that attendees liked having a choice of sessions to attend, and Girard noted that it was apparent that a lot of preparation went into the sessions.

The board approved four student attendance agreements for students that live in Nashua, but attend school in Glasgow.

For the principal reports, Erickson presented and explained part of the new reading series being used at the elementary school, and Mike Zoanni explained two programs being utilized at the middle school. Zoanni also praised the staff and students of the middle school for their hard work and patience adjusting to changes at the school. The fall concert will be held Tuesday, Oct. 25, 7 p.m. at the high school.

Huntsman reported that he is bringing some focus back to safety drills in the school and shared information about a recent cyberbullying presentation by the FBI held at the school. He also noted that college visits and testing are in full swing.

Activity director, Brenner Flaten, reported on planned events including pink night and senior nights for football, cross country, cheer and volleyball, and noted that cross country will be in Kalispell for the state meet Saturday, Oct. 22.

He encouraged everyone to attend the haunted hayrides planned for Thursday, Oct. 27 at Sullivan Park. “Cross country and four or five clubs are involved,” said Flaten, “and last year was exceptional.”

Finally, Flaten reminded everybody that Eva Kor will be at the high school Nov. 1, and he expects the gymnasium to be full for the 1 p.m. student session as several schools from all over will be attending. Flaten expressed appreciation of Farm Equipment Sales for sponsoring the event.

Following Flaten’s report, Huntsman discussed changes and improvements made to the alternative school program offered at the high school. The program is limited to 12 kids at one time, agreements will be signed by administration, parents, and students, there is a strict attendance policy, and a set time for attendance. Jane Kolstad is in charge of the program and students will be required to report to her.

In conclusion, Huntsman acknowledged the high school counselor, Amy Capdeville. “I cannot say enough about Mrs. Capdeville and what she has done. She has been outstanding,” he said.

Connors reported on enrollment, noting that current enrollment is at 842, which is six more than last month and 31 more than last year. Part of the increased enrollment is attributed to increased special education preschool students.

In his building report, Connors said that a fitness trail has been ordered. It will be installed by the community garden at the middle school and will be available for the community to use. In addition, the school will be utilizing a $12,000 grant to install an irrigation system which will include a rainwater retention system for the community garden.

Connors concluded his report by thanking the board of trustees for their direction and leadership and praised the exceptional staff of the school district.

The meeting was adjourned with the next regular board meeting scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 16


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