DB-TC Schools Board approves teacher contract

Kurt Hauglie/Daily Mining Gazette The Dollar Bay-Tamarack City Area Schools Board of Education ratified the latest contract for district teachers at its regular meeting Monday.

DOLLAR BAY — The Dollar Bay-Tamarack City Area Schools Board of Education ratified the 2017-18 contract for district teachers at its regular meeting Monday, but several teachers in attendance questioned the process.

Matt Zimmer, Dollar Bay High School math and science teacher, said the would have liked the board to have scheduled a special meeting to ratify the contract immediately after the teachers did, because the gap between the two approvals meant the teachers lost out on some of whatever raises were in the contract.

“We were disappointed you didn’t have a special meeting,” he said.

It is illegal in Michigan for teachers to be given retroactive pay back to the time the teachers ratified the contract, Zimmer said.

Several other teachers spoke about the financial situation in the district. One teacher spoke about a desire for fairness and equality between teachers and staff.

One teacher mentioned concern about the financial bind the district is in.

One question was about the current fund equity. Karen Ziemnick, the district’s business manager, said that amount will not be known until after the district’s audit, which should be completed in a couple of months.

Board President Dallas Bond said the district’s financial situation depends in large part by how much the district receives from the state, and that often varies.

“It’s a moving target,” he said.

Superintendent Susan Miko said she wants to make certain all employees of the district are satisfied with their pay and how the district is run. She said she believes in the family concept for the district employees and students.

Zimmer said the teachers understand the financial restraints and state of Michigan regulations placed on the board, but they would like more transparency in the budget process.

“We don’t want to come across as whiners,” he said. “In no situation do we want to take away anything from anybody.”

On another teacher-related topic, the board approved hiring a full-time kindergarten teacher.

Although the agenda stated that a 3/5-time teacher should be hired, after discussion on the topic, board members decided another full-time teacher was needed to help with the 34 students the kindergarten will have this year.

Bond said having to work with 34 students for 1 hour and 44 minutes really requires the efforts of two full-time teachers.