PLATTSMOUTH – The president of the Plattsmouth Education Association delivered an assessment of the school district during a speech to school board members Monday night.
PEA President Leigh LaRosa took part in the Plattsmouth Board of Education’s workshop. School board members invited her to appear as part of their monthly speaking series. Representatives from Plattsmouth Early Childhood Center, Plattsmouth Elementary School, Plattsmouth Community Middle School and Plattsmouth High School have delivered presentations in previous months.
LaRosa is a fifth-grade teacher at PCMS and is in her first year as president of Plattsmouth Education Association. She took over responsibilities after former president Dennis Beckmann retired from Plattsmouth Community Schools at the end of the 2016-17 year.
LaRosa began her speech by thanking school board members for agreeing to pursue an academy-based academic structure at the high school. She said teachers have told her that students have been more engaged in their classes and have displayed fewer behavioral issues since the transition. She said many staff members were appreciative of the school board for taking a risk on changing to the new system.
LaRosa also said PEA members were happy with the healthcare options the district provided to them each year. She said Plattsmouth employees had spoken to teachers in other districts across the state to compare healthcare plans and benefits. She said they felt Plattsmouth ranked favorably in those comparisons.
LaRosa gave Plattsmouth board members a verbal thumbs-up for their decision to have at least one trained social worker in each school building. She said social workers have played positive roles in the lives of many children across the district.
“We appreciate that very much,” LaRosa said. “They are trained professionals who are helping kids cope with many situations.”
LaRosa then turned her attention to topics PEA members wanted the school board to focus on more. She said teachers and other employees wanted school board members to visit each district building more often during the year. She said additional visits would help them gain a greater awareness of the day-to-day responsibilities teachers and other staff members have within the district.
LaRosa then asked board members to gather more input from Plattsmouth staff on decisions involving technology issues. She asked the board to establish a technology team that would include educators from each school building. She said that group could potentially nip technology issues in the bud before they blossomed into larger problems.
LaRosa also delivered a handout to board members that contained a salary comparison of several Plattsmouth administrators and the base pay of Plattsmouth teachers. The handout listed salaries of several administrators or managers who had remained in their current positions and had not changed or added responsibilities from 2012-13 to 2017-18. The individual salary increases of the administrators over the five-year span ranged from $7,562 to $30,750.
LaRosa’s handout showed a comparison of the base pay for Plattsmouth teachers over the same five-year period. She said the base pay had risen $2,400. The handout listed the base pay in 2012-13 as $31,300 and this year’s base pay as $33,700.
“We would like to know what the district’s financial plan is moving forward,” LaRosa said. “What is the plan for one year from now? What is the plan for three years from now? We would like you to take a look at this.”
LaRosa closed her speech by emphasizing the value of everyone associated with the school district. She said she felt school board members were dedicated people who volunteered their time for the betterment of the community. She said she felt district administrators cared about Plattsmouth employees and students, and she said local teachers were devoted to their calling as educators and leaders.