WACO school board discusses adding groundskeeper position

By Karyn Spory, Mt. Pleasant News


WAYLAND ? With the amount of money the WACO Community School District is spending on mowing and snow removal, WACO superintendent Jeff Dicks believes it might be more cost effective to hire a groundskeeper.

During a school board meeting Monday, Feb. 19, Dicks said the district is on track to spend close to $30,000 on mowing and snow removal.

?We (paid) over $20,000 in 2017 for mowing and so far snow removal, before this last storm (the weekend of Feb. 17), was over $5,000, we negotiated down to $4,400,? Dicks told the school board. ?We have a mower, we have a snow plow and when the fitness center opens, that will have to be addressed daily.?

Dicks added that he has been happy with the work done by the contractors, but he believes it would make more sense economically to use those funds to hire a groundskeeper/maintenance worker. The contractors for mowing and snow removal were paid from the general fund and the groundskeeper position would also be paid for from the general fund.

?This is just an exploration,? Dicks reminded the school board. ?I just want to put it out there and see what we can get.?

School board member Amy McLaughlin said there would likely be ?lots of additional costs we?re not thinking of.? She pointed to the fact that with contracting the work out, the district doesn?t have to pay for any gas or equipment upkeep and removal.

The board members authorized Dicks to look into hiring a groundskeeper. Before anyone was hired, Dicks would have to bring the job description and salary details to the board for approval.

The school board also authorized Dicks to see if any district personnel would be interested in early retirement.

Dicks said an early retirement incentive is a great cost-savings tool for the district. ?The real wins are when you have someone eligible for early retirement and you didn?t have to replace them. The savings on one such position would be $74,000.?

The $74,000 in savings does not come just from the teacher?s salary, Dicks explained. It?s a package savings of the employee?s salary and benefits including IPERS and insurance. Dicks added any retirement payments would come from the district?s management fund instead of the general fund.

Dicks said he hoped to have a list of interested employees for the March meeting.

In other business, the district approved installing new carpet in two rooms in the elementary school.

The work will be done over spring break and would cost the district $6,441.53.

The next meeting of the WACO school board will be held on Monday, March 20, at 6:30 p.m. in the high school library.