The Superior School District is moving forward with a new initiative to fill vacant food service positions. District employees who refer someone for the job can earn a $125 bonus if that person is hired and successful after 30 days.“We’re hoping, with the help of our employees and the pilot, we’ll be able to fill some of these really challenging spots,” District Administrator Janna Stevens told the School Board during the Jan. 15 board meeting.

Director of Food Service Jamie Wilson said five of the district’s 40 food service positions are open. Another four food service employees plan to retire this spring, taking with them nearly 80 collective years of experience.

“It’s part-time employment, it’s hard to fill,” Wilson said. “We used to fill it with stay-at-home parents.”

The positions offer a starting wage of $10.50 to $14 an hour, Wilson said, and a work week of up to 30 hours. Food service staff get paid time off, and no night or weekend hours are required.

“For a part time job, it’s a good place to be,” Wilson said.

Stevens said they won’t be able to gauge the effectiveness of the bonus offer until the spring.

Support staff

The School Board reinstated a wage schedule for district support staff at the Jan. 15 meeting. The new schedule is retroactive to July 1, bringing with it some back pay. Support staff will also receive a letter from the business office detailing their old wage, new wage and longevity.

“You’ll see your raise by the March 2 payroll,” said District Business Manager Alayna Burger.

Julie Rozowski, accounts payable clerk at Superior High School, thanked administrators and board members for working with the support staff to reinstate a wage schedule.

“They have shown us that we are not any less important than the teachers or the administration,” said Rozowski, who has worked in the district 20 years.

The move affects 359 support staff employees whose wage schedules were eliminated in the 2014-2015 school year.

It was a collaborative effort to build a schedule that was not only financially responsible moving forward, but created equity among the whole support staff group, Burger said.

The board vowed that no employee would be financially harmed with the reinstatement, said Christina Kintop, who chairs the Personnel and Negotiations Committee. To do so, four positions were tweaked from the initial schedule brought forward by support staff.

Bus driver Kari Holmes questioned why some employees jumped forward more steps while others, like the bus drivers, did not.

“There was no impropriety done,” Kintop said, but it was necessary to ensure that everyone got a raise.

Both she and Rozowski said the schedule isn’t perfect.

“The majority of us in the union and those that we are representing, which would be everyone in the support staff, feel that the steps offered to us are a step in the right direction,” Rozowski said.

Kintop said Holmes may have valid points to bring up in future meetings with the Personnel and Negotiations Committee.

“If you think the bus drivers are underpaid, that’s definitely something we should look into because we do know those positions are very hard to fill and we’re losing a lot of people through retirement right now,” Kintop said.

The goal was to return support staff to a wage schedule, she said, “because we want our support staff to know we do honor you and we value you and we want to start something.”