School board considers policy, health costsFor the second time in two months, the Superior School Board has taken a step back from a proposed policy change.
By: Emily Kram, Superior Telegram
For the second time in two months, the Superior School Board has taken a step back from a proposed policy change.
On July 1, the Board voted down a measure that would have altered an employee policy regarding rights to patents and copyrights of programs, books and other materials developed by staff members.
Under the existing policy, the School Board relinquishes all rights to materials developed by staff on their own time, without use of school district data and resources. Any material not meeting that requirement is property of the district.
Another section of the policy requires employees to inform the superintendent of publishing or research projects before starting them, and the district has the option of purchasing the finished materials free of copyright or royalty charges.
Superintendent Janna Stevens asked the board to review the policy because she felt it was “somewhat controlling over of our people.”
The proposal considered by the board would have removed all language detailing copyright provisions and replaced it with two sentences authorizing the superintendent to negotiate for “fair and appropriate compensation, including the sharing of royalties.”
Board member Jonathan Asp said he was uncomfortable putting too many restrictions on employees, but he recognized the need for some control on the part of the board.
“My only concern is we have these creative people working for our district … going above and beyond,” Asp said. “The biggest thing I would like to see is us retain these employees.”
Board member Mary Klun favored keeping the existing language, saying it strikes a nice balance between the interests of the district and the interests of employees.
“I don’t want to be so restrictive that we shut down a teacher that goes above and beyond,” Klun said. “But the problem comes if they are writing a book on district time.”
Asp agreed, but said it was important to keep employees informed of the policy and encourage them to pursue research and publishing opportunities.
The motion to change the language failed by a unanimous voice vote. Board members Len Albrecht and Robert Morehouse were not present.
Stevens suggested reworking the research and publishing component into a standalone policy. The board said it would be interested in examining the policy again in that form.
“I think the policy can be developed better than this,” said board member John Hendricks.
The board also moved forward a measure to approve health insurance rates for the 2013-14 school year.
The district is entering the second year of its three-year agreement with HealthPartners. Premiums for the insurance plan are set to increase 12.3 percent. The district pays 88 percent of premium costs and employees pay the remaining 12 percent, said Jack Amadio, business manager for the school district.
For the district, its contribution for single employee coverage will jump from about $343 per month to $385. The cost to the district for family coverage will go from $1,097 per month to $1,233.
The measure moved forward to today’s regular meeting by a 4-1 vote. Hendricks cast the dissenting vote.