Tentative contract offered with new Tecumseh Public Schools’ superintendent

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Tecumseh School Board President Ed Tritt presented an update on contract negotiations with incoming Supt. Dr. Kelly Coffin to school trustees at Monday night’s regular meeting. Tritt said that a tentative contract had been offered to Coffin, the board’s recent choice to succeed Supt. Mike McAran who will be retiring from his post June 30. Coffin was selected from among six finalists for the position last month.

Tritt told the board that a tentative contract had been submitted to Coffin last Tuesday for her approval after the board had hammered out the first draft. After reviewing the contract, Coffin returned it to the board with some revisions that she would like to see made to the document.

Tritt said the board made a counterproposal and returned the contract for Coffin to review once again. “As soon as she returns it to us, the board will have the opportunity to vote on it,” he said. “By the next meeting, we may have something for you.”

The board’s finance committee has been the main architect of the contract and will review Kelly’s response. The finance committee includes chairman Stanley Ames, Board Vice President Jim Rice, and trustee Roger Hart.

“We may or may not have a superintendent contract [at the next meeting],” said Tritt. “It depends on what happens with legal.” Tritt was referring to the Thrun Law Firm, which is the legal counsel retained by the district for reviewing contracts and advising on other legal matters.

Another employee contract issue that came before the board Monday night was changes to the deferred compensation plan. Payroll and benefits administrator Jim Brown told the board that the current 457(b) and 403(b) deferred compensation plans needed to be updated to accommodate returning service personnel and other issues. The plans allow employees to defer a part of their compensation to provide for benefits upon the occurrence of specified events such as an emergency or retirement.

Brown also reviewed the employee “cafeteria plan,” which allows employees to select benefits that will be deducted from their salaries, such as medical insurance and health savings account contributions.

Both issues will be on the agenda for action at the next meeting.

Items that the board took action on Monday night:

• Approved Tecumseh Public Schools participation in the State Board of Education Policy on Quality Physical Education

• Approved district participation in School of Choice and Building of Choice for the 2013-2015 school year

In the “Good News” portion of the meeting, Tritt introduced Tecumseh Middle School seventh graders Addison Czartoski and Zoe Meyers, who had recently taken first place in the Tri-County Science Fair. Their winning project charted the relationship between PH and the erosion of teeth. The girls explained the experiments that they had conducted to reach their conclusions.
Tecumseh Middle School teacher David Gibson told the board that the girls had conducted the experiments and assembled the data entirely on their own. “This is all their work,” he said. “They had no help from any teacher, and they put together the winning project.”

Tritt, who is a doctor of veterinary medicine, has been a member of the panel of judges for the Tri-County Science Fair in years past. He said that he was impressed with the girls’ project and the detailed investigation into tooth enamel erosion that they had conducted.

“This is basically an in-depth research paper,” he said, congratulating the seventh-graders for their win.

The next school board meeting will be at 7 p.m. in the administrative services building, 212 N. Ottawa St., Monday, March 25.

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