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Parts of high school remain without heat

The first signs of winter dusted northern Wisconsin last week, and the ongoing below-average temperatures made for a chilly Monday at Superior High School.

The first signs of winter dusted northern Wisconsin last week, and the ongoing below-average temperatures made for a chilly Monday at Superior High School.

Sections of the school were still without heat Monday morning following damage from a water valve malfunction on Sept. 29. The malfunction caused flooding in the school’s boiler room and knocked out some equipment.

Superintendent Janna Stevens said the district’s maintenance team has been working “feverishly” to restore heat to the building.

As of Monday morning, one area of SHS was without heat. Stevens said the temperature was about 60 degrees in that section of the school, so she asked the buildings and grounds department to bring in special heating units as a short-term solution.

“That is a temporary fix,” Stevens said. “The next step is to install a new upgraded (boiler) system.”

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Repairs to the boiler have taken longer than expected. Stevens said all of the necessary parts are on order, but they will not arrive until next week. Within 10 days, Stevens hopes to have the heating situation resolved.

The total cost for repairs to the boiler system remains unknown.

In his monthly report to the Superior School Board, building and grounds director Gary Niemi wrote that maintenance staff would need to replace “a significant portion of the equipment that was damaged by the water.”

Stevens said she expects the bill for repairs to be significant, but the district had no alternative.

“There really wasn’t anything to consider. We have to get this done to have a safe environment for our students and our staff,” Stevens said.

 

Handbook delay

The Superior School Board is asking for more time to consider new language for teachers’ employee handbooks.

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The Board was scheduled to take up the matter Monday but asked Stevens to remove the item from the agenda to allow more time for closed-door discussion. The original proposal posted on Friday called for the removal of teachers’ salary schedules, mirroring a move the Board made in August for administration and support staff employees. But Stevens said the district is not looking to eliminate step increases for teachers; a new salary schedule would be crafted to replace the one now in use.

Stevens said the Board may address the handbook changes in November, but the delay could be longer.

“I’d say next month is likely, but there is no guarantee,” she said.

The Board did not, however, postpone its discussion on a 1.46 salary increase for instructional staff for 2014-15. The increase is the same as was given to administration and support staff employees earlier this year.

According to Stevens, the Superior Federation of Teachers, Local 202, voted to accept the 1.46 raise after the latest round of negotiations.

To offset the wage bump, teachers will not receive scheduled step increases this year - a decision Stevens said was not subject to union approval.

“We can’t do both,” Stevens said. “In order to get the 1.46 percent (increase) we had to freeze step increases.”

Stevens said the total cost to the district for the 1.46 percent raise is $293,064.

Related Topics: SUPERIOREDUCATION
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