MAPS staff salaries to remain unchanged amid closure
As part of their monthly meeting on Wednesday night, March 18, the Merrill Area Public Schools Board of Education (BoE) unanimously approved the continued payment of full-time and part-time staff, while they are out of work due to the COVID-19-related school closure.
According to MAPS Treasurer John Smith, the decision was made to continue paying the teachers to prevent the staff from suffering financially in these hard times.
“If I’m looking at this correctly, we will continue to get funding from the state and federal, the same as if we were still in school, so we will be able to continue paying teachers with no impact on the budget.” said Smith. “One of the things I would like to propose is that we continue to pay our staff. Once this whole thing is over we want to have staff that is not suffering financially. It’s something that we can do and really it’s the best thing that we can do, so when they return to work they haven’t had to endure financial damage.”
Smith would then make a motion to continue the payment of regularly scheduled employees, both part-time and full-time. The motion was seconded by board member Paul Proulx. After some discussion the motion passed unanimously.
The board would then go into discussion on continuing meal services during the pandemic closure. Board member Proulx would make a motion to approve continued meal services, seconded by board member Brett Woller.
“At the time we wrote this, DPI (Department of Public Instruction) wasn’t going to allow reimbursement during our regularly scheduled spring break,” said MAPS Director of Finance Brian Dasher. “An hour before the meeting they released new guidance, saying we can serve meals during spring break and still get reimbursed. We can get up and running by Monday (March 23), probably not any sooner, because we need time to get this set up. The meals will be available for pick up at the High School. We spoke to the Lincoln County Health Department and they would like that to be the only point of pick up for the meals.”
According to MAPS Food Service Director Laura Krause-Zastrow, students do not have to be present for pick up of the meals.
“Parents can come and pick up as many meals as they can,” stated Zastrow. “If a parent has two kids in school and the neighbor has three kids, and one parent wants to pick up all five meals for those kids, that is fine. We will also be packing a breakfast and a lunch in each bag. The first pick up day will be on Monday and the meal bags will include breakfast and lunch for Monday and Tuesday. Then we will serve again on Wednesday and the meal bags will have breakfast and lunch for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.”