MAPS continues talks on staff payment, approves changes to graduation requirements
By Jared Schmeltzer
As part of their regular monthly meeting on Wednesday, April 15 , the Merrill Area Public Schools’ (MAPS) Board of Education (BoE) continued discussion on staff salaries during theCOVID-19 relate school closure. The BoE would dive deeper into the subject, agreeing to the continuance of payment to spring sports coaches and co-curriular staff, bus contractors and food service staff.
The BoE would begin with discussion on the continuation of full contractual payment of bus contractors. Board member Paul Proulx would make a motion to approve the continuation of bus contractor payments, which was seconded by Vice President Maria Volpe. MAPS Treasurer Jon Smith would then ask if the school district will be getting compensation from the state for transportation. MAPS Director of Finance Brian Dasher advised that the district has not been getting compensation and most likely will not be getting any.
“We have not been receiving any transportation compensation as of right now,” explained Dasher. “Unless something changes, we will not be getting any compensation for paying our bus contractors.”
The board would then approve the motion by a unanimous vote.
Following their decision on the bus driver contracts, the board began talks on the continuation of payment for food service employees. A motion from MAPS Clerk Nubs Ashbeck to continue paying food service employees was seconded by Volpe. The motion was passed unanimously.
Later in the meeting the BoE would address, and ultimately approve continued payment of spring sports coaches and co-curricular staff. Treasurer Jon Smith would make a motion to approve the payment of these staff; citing online videos they have been sharing with their athletes as grounds for payment. The motion would be seconded by board member Christi Stellingworth. During discussion on the topic, BoE President Kevin Blake pointed out that paying coaches would be cost neutral for the district.
“A lot of these coaches have been working with these athletes all year long,” said Blake. “That along with the fact that they have been engaging with their athletes through videos during the shutdown, is good enough grounds for payment. This would also be cost neutral for the school district so I would support this motion.”
Near the end of the meeting, the board would go into talks on the waiver of board policy regarding the graduation requirements for the 2020 graduating class. Volpe would make a motion to approve the waiver of board policy for graduation of the 2020 class and instead go by the state of Wisconsin’s requirements for graduation. The motion was seconded by board member Linda Yingling.
Wisconsin requirements for high school graduation include:
•Math – 3 Credits
•Science – 3 Credits
•English/Language Arts – 4 Credits
•Social Studies – 3 Credits
•Civics Requirement – Yes
•Physical Education – 1.5 credits
•Health – 0.5 credits (in grades 7-12)
No further discussion was had on the motion and the BoE would pass it unanimously.