The Sidney Sun-Telegraph - Serving proudly since 1873 as the beautiful Nebraska Panhandle's first newspaper

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By Forrest Hershberger
Publisher, Sun-Telegraph 

Recall Petition Approved

Leyton School Board Updates Substitute Pay


October 20, 2021 | View PDF

Cheyenne County Clerk Beth Fiegenschuh confirmed Friday, Sept. 15, recall petitions were submitted and approved for Leyton School District Board President Suzy Ernest and board secretary Roland Rushman. Fiegenschuh said 138 signatures were approved for Ernest, and 148 for Rushman.

The approved results have been forwarded to the Leyton School Board by certified mail. Fiegenschuh said the school board has 21 days from receiving the letter, sent Oct. 13.

“We will follow instructions on what we need to do,” Ernest said in response to the recall petition.

What are the options when a school district struggles to maintain a pool of substitute teachers?

That is one of the issues discussed in the Oct. 11 meeting of the Leyton School Board. The board and District Superintendent Chris Geary discussed options including changing the pay scale for substitutes, to hiring a “full-time substitute.”

“It's a disaster. It's the same everywhere,” Geary said.

Part of the challenge is how a substitute is licensed.

“We have some local substitutes,” he said.

Geary added local substitutes have a license for the Leyton schools only. Presently, the district offers substitutes $100 per day plus lunch.

Geary proposed the board consider a full-time substitute teacher, a staff member who would be expected in the building when school starts and will be assigned to a classroom as needed. When all teachers are present, the substitute can be assigned other duties. No action was taken on the full-time substitute proposal.

The board approved increasing substitute pay to $130 per day for full day and $65 per day for half-day substitutions.

The board also rescinded two agreements with Compton Electrical Services; one for materials and the second for installation. The previously approved bids were for LED lighting.

“It is still an approved project,” Geary said.

He said the agreements need to include clarification that the contractor will pay David-Bacon wages. The Davis-Bacon Act, dating back to 1931, applies to “contractors and subcontractors performing on federally funded or assisted contracts in excess of $2,000 for the construction, alteration or repair (including painting and decorating) of public buildings or public works,” according to the U.S. Department of Labor website.

The board also discussed the district's response to the COVID-19 virus. Discussion included if the district can require tests, masks and even vaccines.

“I would rather not entice someone to take the vaccine,” board president Suzy Ernest said.

A motion was made and approved allowing teachers diagnosed with COVID to teach remotely without impacting the teacher's sick days.

The board also talked about if a staff member can be required to stay home if testing positive. According to the board discussion, the district cannot require more than a mask, and to self-monitor if in close contact with a person who is positive. If a person tests positive, he or she can be required to stay home.

The board approved requiring those who have been in close contact to wear a mask when “on or in school property,” including school buses and activities.

The exception would be athletes while on the court or field, and wearing a mask when on the bench.

Ernest also announced Geary's evaluation would be ready for the November meeting. Geary asked what documents would be included in his personnel file, noting there were three documents in his possession, one with signature lines and a second that is a summary of the evaluation. He asked that the summary be included in his file, and thanked the board “for such a good evaluation.”

The board also directed Geary to contact other districts regarding salary schedule.

The board was updated about a plumbing issue with the concession stand. The problem is believed to predate recent work on the track. Geary was directed to to contract for the problem to be researched with a camera/tracer.

The district is seeking a four-wheeler ATV at a fair price. When it was announced at a recent meeting that the pickup-truck used for snow removal. The board and Geary discussed relying on an ATV instead of purchasing a new pickup truck.

The board directed Geary to seek prices on used ATVs, and to contract for snow removal bigger than can be managed by an ATV.


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