The Mexico Board of Education held a special open working session at 6 p.m. on Monday. Agenda items included real estate, a support staff salary schedule and elementary school realignment.
Jenna Frazier, director of Imagine This Learning Center, informed the board that she would not be able to continue with her bid for the building at 408 N. Jefferson St. until several issues - namely black mold and crack in the roof and floor tile - were taken care of. She stated that the original allowance of $3,000 would not cover repairs and estimated, based on information from an inspector, that they would need approximately $7,500. The board discussed several repairs that had already been made to the building, including mold removal, and decided to discuss the matter further at the meeting on June 19.
The existing salary support schedule was also a topic of discussion. According to Superintendent Dr. Templeton, the current system involves seven columns for different job classifications in order to determine a starting pay. However, he said that this system “only rewards external experience.” Under the current system, he said, staff would not move on the scale unless someone moved them or their job duties changed - meaning that someone new to the district and a veteran of the district could be at the same pay level. Potential solutions proposed included mirroring the teacher’s salary schedule, where individuals would move on the scale every year, or to develop a base rate and language that allots for a certain percentage increase for every year of experience up to a certain point.
Also on the night’s agenda was the topic of realigning Mexico’s elementary schools. Board member Dustin Pascoe stated that, “At a minimum, we probably need to do some redistricting.” He stated that, due to population changes in town, Hawthorne elementary was reaching capacity while Eugene Field and Mcmillan elementary schools were less than full. He stated that this would be unsustainable if it were to continue. A variety of potential solutions were considered, including turning Eugene Field and Hawthorne elementaries into buildings for grades one through five or drawing a different metaphorical line across town to direct more students to the schools with space.
“There are 16 to 17 kids in a 4th grade classroom at Mcmillan - at Hawthorne, there are 25,” said board member Kelli Teel.
The topic of substitute teachers was not discussed at the working session.
The board will discuss these and other matters at its regularly scheduled meeting on June 19.