Benton School Board elects new officers,
approves 2 percent pay hike for employees
Brad Bohannan is the new president of the Benton School Board.
Bohannan was elected to that position in a board meeting Tuesday night at the district's Professional Development Center.
Other new officers of the board are Heath Nix, vice president; and Paul Viner, secretary.
The reorganization of the board was the final action item taken in the meeting.
The past president, Jeff Morrow, who conducted the meeting, expressed appreciation for the support received during his term.
Morrow noted that the coming year would be his final year on the board, implying that he will not be seeking another term when the current one expires next year.
He said he will spend his final year on the panel as "a regular board member."
Because state law requires the board reorganization to occur in the meeting that follows the annual school election, two of the votes were conducted by teleconference, since Bohannan and Jonathan Woolbright were out of town for business matters.
All of the board members voted in favor of the new slate of officers. The vote was done by a roll-call method.
Salary increases for employees was a matter addressed by the board.
In addition to approving additional compensation for both licensed and classified employees, the board also approved an addendum to the contract for Superintendent Jeff Collum, which states that he will receive the same salary percentage increase as other licensed personnel in the district.
When Collum was hired, it was reported that his base salary was $132,500.
The board's action Tuesday night resulted in employees receiving a $1,000 across-the-board increase added to their base salary. The additional amount is to be given in a lump sum payment in November.
Mary Morgan, assistant superintendent for personnel/communications, told the board that the district's Personnel Policy Committees — one for licensed employees and the other for classified employees — voted for this method for receiving the additional money.
The PPC organizations had conducted a survey among district employees to receive the opinions of the employees, Morgan said.
She further noted that the employees' insurance is increasing after Jan. 1, which effectively will lessen the increased compensation for many, depending on which plan they are receiving.
The district reportedly will contribute $229.76 per month toward health insurance premiums for each participating employee; the required state minimum is $131 per month.
Also, all employees participating in the school health plan receive a $5,000 basic life benefit at no cost to the employees; the district will pay individual dental insurance for all eligible employees; and the district pays the five-year standard licensure renewal fee for all certified staff.
In other matters, the board approved two personnel recommendations made by Morgan.
Jenna Nissen was hired as a social studies teacher at Benton Middle School; and Danelle Duplantis was hired as a sign language interpreter for the middle school.
Nissen's employment reportedly was effective with the start of the 2012-13 contract year, and Duplantis' employment was effective Oct. 3.
Additional information from the school board meeting will be included in a later edition of The Saline Courier.