Class act: Schools to regain lost class time by adding minutes

  • Updated: April 4, 2014 - 7:48 PM

The North St. Paul-Maplewood-Oakdale School District, which canceled six days of classes this winter due to weather, plans to temporarily extend the school day to make up some of the lost time.

Students in grades K-12 will get out nine minutes later every day until May 28, school officials announced on the district’s website. The school board approved the extension March 25.

Extending students’ time in the classroom would “allow the district to regain six additional hours of instructional time” without having to lengthen the school year into the second week of June, the announcement said.

“This will also mean that students who ride the bus home will get dropped off about nine minutes later,” it said.

The district had already converted two staff development and/or conference days into school days.

Anticipating criticism, district officials conceded that the plan “is not a perfect solution,” but is the best option to meet the state’s requirement of 1,020 classroom hours per year.

“Unfortunately, this has been a historic winter in Minnesota and while not ideal, we felt this solution, which didn’t involve extending the school day further into June, was the least disruptive to families,” officials said.

Libor Jany

 

Minneapolis principals agree to new contract

Minneapolis principals have approved a new two-year contract that gives Superintendent Bernadeia Johnson a substantially stronger hand in recruiting outside leaders for schools and attracting current ones to hard-to-staff buildings.

Under the deal, Johnson will have up to $10,000 to lure outside principals for vacancies and can offer similar-size incentives to attract principals already in the district payroll to low-performing schools. The money also may be used to counter an outside offer to a Minneapolis principal.

The new deal was approved by a bargaining unit of about 100 principals and assistant principals; the Principal Forum did not announce the margin of approval. It makes changes in line with Johnson’s push for making pay for district leadership partly tied to performance.

The school board is scheduled to vote on the deal Tuesday.

The incentives come as the district expects a wave of departures in the next few years as more principals near retirement age. It is also seeking new principals for South and Washburn high schools. The district also needs a principal for the Cityview building, which is reopening next fall. In the past 10 years, it has lost North Principal Mike Favor and Henry Principal Paul McMahon to suburban posts.

The new salary schedule kicks in for next school year, after a 1 percent salary hike for the current year that was negotiated.

For elementary principals, starting pay will be $100,000, about $300 less than now. Maximum pay will top out at $124,337 after 12 years, compared to this year’s $115,183. Middle school principals will continue to be paid slightly more than elementary principals.

The biggest upside is for senior high principals, where beginning pay will rise from $105,723 this year to $107,500 next year, while the 12th-year max will top out at $133,446 next year, compared to $121,290 after seven years this year.

Steve Brandt

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