SWSC approves stipends, student transfers, amends Sodexo contract

The Southwest School Corp. Board of Trustees met earlier this month to approve stipends, consider transfers, as well as amending their contract with Sodexo.

After approving their paid and unpaid claims, and accepting resignations throughout the campuses, the board went into their financial report for the month. The education fund is currently at $1.4 million, the debt service fund also sat at $1.4 million for the month. The operations fund is slightly lower at a little over $800,000. This is to be expected at year's end. The rainy day fund is sitting comfortable at a little over $1 million. 

Next on their agenda was to approve certain student transfers for activities. These include transfers for Jeff Miller and Kevin Cross. They will be going to an FFA event to attend the National Farm and Machinery Show in Louisville, Kentucky on Feb. 16. Stacie Hollis also requested that a group of students go to the Fox Theatre in Missouri to see "Hamilton" on May 7. The board accepted these transfers.

Afterwards, the board discussed the idea of providing increased pay and stipends to their non-certified members of staff.

”These stipends are based on their role, responsibilities and length of work day, and the number of days worked” Superintendent Chris Stizle said. Any of these staff members that were employed in the 2021 school year and are evaluated as effective or above will qualify. 

“Employees working part of the 2021 school year will receive a prorated stipend,” Stizle clarified to the board members. These stipends will be approximately 5% of their annual pay. Those that resigned during the school year will not be eligible for the grant, save for those non-certified that retired. Board member Kevin Arnett made a motion to approve the stipend, and the board unanimously approved it. 

Sodexo, a food catering company, and the SWSC are amending their contract together. This will increase the amount of money spent by the corporation monthly, this money will be spent on pay raises for custodians and cafeteria staff. The question of who gets what raise will be decided by Sodexo’s management. Usually, the corporation would wait until early June to amend the contract and increase allotment. The corporation had decided to get these pay raises to cafeteria staff early, and not have to worry about raising it again come June. Board member Jerry Wilson made the motion, and the board approved the amendment. 

Moreover, Sodexo manager Lynne Arnett gave her routine report to the board. The company has over the past few months had trouble keeping a steady staff while turnover remained high. This month looks to be a bit more fortunate for them. The company has been choosing “experience winners." These are members of kitchen staff that have worked hard during these past few weeks.

“We have them nominated every month,” Arnett explained to the board members. These hard-working nominees turned out to all be new hires. In spite of new and improved staff, a good cafeteria cook isn’t going to fix their shortages. Again, Arnett explained to the board that they persistently have trouble ordering items for future meals, silverware and other products. All in all, Arnett has not heard many complaints herself.

“We are working. And I am down to three short, which is great. I am so close to being full staff,” she said to the board. 


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