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Longview School Board approves replacement capital and technology levy timeline
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Longview School Board approves replacement capital and technology levy timeline

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Coronavirus safety signs

COVID-19 safety reminder signs hang in all Longview School District buildings.

The Longview School Board on Monday approved a timeline for putting a replacement capital and technology levy on the April ballot.

Superintendent Dan Zorn said the district was working on a phone survey and an online survey to gauge voter support of the levy. The survey is set to run from Oct. 4 through Nov. 19.

Multiple facilities committee discussions will be held to lay out possible levy scenarios, he said, and the board will get an update Oct. 25, for a board discussion Nov. 22 and a final decision Dec. 13.

With an April 26 Election Day, the replacement levy campaign would run from Jan. 3 through Election Day, Zorn said.

Longview school board passes budget, hears teacher concerns over vaccines

Board member Barb Westrick asked for more information about the survey before it went out to the public.

Zorn said while the survey was still under development, it would be a phone survey of 300 randomly selected voters similar to what the district has done in the past, and the “base question we’re asking is about the level of support that is out there.”

Service Employee International Union 925 representative Shawn Nyman told the board she and union members had concerns about the increased community spread of COVID-19, vaccine and mask mandates and reduced staffing levels.

She said staff were experiencing burnout and as the Oct. 18 vaccine mandate deadline approaches, “this is only going to get worse.”

Local schools preparing for Oct. 18 vaccine mandate deadline

Nyman said she needs “recognition that additional help is needed” from the board and for the district to hire more people to fill gaps and help school nurses with the COVID-19 contact and testing workload, which is “overwhelming.”

Zorn said Tuesday the district was actively trying to fill open positions, but there are worker shortages affecting all local districts.

A contract for the exempt team, which are administrative staff not represented by a union, got unanimous board approval Monday.

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That contract covers the executive assistant to the superintendent, the assistant secretary to the school board, the lead accountant, the budget analysts, the human resources specialists, the payroll officer and a coordinator.

The new contract includes a 2% cost of living increase, clarifying language around working on holidays and non-contract days and benefits and adjustments to bereavement leave.

Longview's $108 million school budget puts emergency funds to tech, safety

Under the new contract for 2021-2023, bereavement leave goes from five days annually for the death of an immediate family or household member to up to five days per bereavement of an immediate member of the family and lays out who that includes.

The cost of living adjustment for 2021-22 is 2%.

The board also approved the salary and benefits for 2021-2022 for the assistant superintendent in a 4-1 vote, with board member CJ Nickerson voting against it.

The assistant superintendent position was removed from the Management Team Agreement beginning this year. The separate contract includes a salary of about $154,000, a 2% increase from the previous year’s salary for cost of living.

The contract also included the district will pay $1,000 annually into the assistant superintendent’s district retirement plan.

Nickerson said he thought the contribution was not going to be included and was confused about the wording of the yearly payment, which is why he voted against the contract.

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The other board members said the wording and intent was clear to them and voted in favor of the agreement.

Two policies were introduced to the board, an update to the students experiencing homelessness policy and a new policy on requests for disability accommodation by parents, guardians and community members. The homelessness policy updates cleaned up language and added an option for the school to help students get healthcare if a guardian cannot.

The second draft policy lays out how the school district will accept and respond to requests from parents, guardians and other community members who have a disability and need accommodations to access school services, programs and activities.

The district will “make reasonable modification” to its policies, procedures or practices when necessary to allow parents, guardians or community members access under the policy. After getting a request, the district would have five businesses days for an initial response and 15 days to tell the person in writing whether the request is granted or denied.

Zorn said both policies are recommended by the Washington State School Directors Association. The board will vote on the policies at the October meeting.

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