Teutopolis School Board Reaches Compromise on Additional First Grade Position

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Published on July 26 2013 1:05 am
Last Updated on July 26 2013 1:13 am
Written by Greg Sapp

Teutopolis school board members Thursday reached a compromise on additional first grade teaching help for the coming school year.

The Board voted 6-1 to advertise for a teacher to work up to halftime each school day with first graders.  Board member Jim Buhnerkempe voted No on the motion, saying during the discussion that he thought the three existing first grade teachers have worked together and would do well under the existing structure.

An earlier motion to hire a fulltime teacher for a fourth first grade section failed 5-2, with members Carl Repking and Dan Burke voting Yes on the hire.

Some of those gathered asked the Board, if they didn't think the District could afford another fulltime teacher, to hire someone who could teach Math and Reading to first graders and let the three fulltime teachers handle the other instruction.  Superintendent Bill Fritcher felt the expense could be justified and encouraged the Board to make a decision to allow administrators time to arrange the schedules reflecting the additional instructor and classroom space.

Estimates are that an additional fulltime first grade teacher would have cost $40,000 in salary and benefits.  Hiring someone to work up to halftime would mean an expense of about $20,000.

Had there been no hiring approved, there would have been 25 students per teacher in each of the three first grade classrooms during the full school day.

Officials at Teutopolis also looked to the future in making their decision since at least one retirement of a grade school teacher is expected at the end of the coming school year.  The person hired for part-time duties this year would likely be the favorite for the fulltime job next year.

Also Thursday, the Teutopolis board awarded a contract to Swingler Construction of Teutopolis for $72,446 to make building security improvements at Teutopolis High School, but a vote to award work to improve the track at Teutopolis Junior High School was tabled.  Fritcher said he failed to schedule a public hearing on whether the public approves using health and life safety funds to make the track improvements.