The Burlington School Board on Thursday approved Reggie Shipp for the position of school administrative manager with an annual salary of $59,000 during a special meeting. 

The topic has been discussed at length during two previous school board meetings, with board members, citizens and a teacher expressing concern about the previous salary on the consent agenda, which had been $64,000. There was no discussion among the board members regarding hiring Shipp or the lowered salary, and, though several questions were asked about other positions up for approval, the human resources report was approved.

During the public comments section, Laura Blanchard, who heads the Des Moines County chapter of Iowans for Public Education and has attended each of the meetings regarding the SAM position, urged the board members to vote based on whether the salary was appropriate. 

"I would hope that you would vote based upon whether you think this is an appropriate salary, not based on the time constraint that is out of your control," she said.

After the meeting, Blanchard said she was surprised there was no discussion about the lowered salary, which she appreciated, and that she thought the state average for a SAM's salary, which is $46,000, would have been more appropriate. She also said Iowans for Public Education does not typically get involved in issues such as positions, but the higher-paying position was put forward shortly after teachers lost the majority of their collective bargaining rights, including language items, and "got hosed" on their contracts for next year. 

As a SAM, Shipp will assume many of Burlington High School Principal David Keane's responsibilities, such as disciplinary issues, taking calls from parents and completing attendance reports, allowing Keane more time to work on instructional improvement. 

The board also approved a contract with School Administrators of Iowa for SAM consulting services. Under the contract, the school district must pay $6,000 for consulting services including conferences and training to help Shipp and Keane work out their routines and procedures as well as five days of someone evaluating the amount of time Keane spends on management and instruction. Curriculum director Sharon Dentlinger said, ideally, he would spend 80 percent of his time on instruction and the rest on management. 

According to School Administrators of Iowa, principals of schools with a SAM show a significant improvement in time spent on instructional improvement within one or two years. 

Start times

Due to changes with the bus hub, which now will be at the high school, school start times have been changed from what was published in student handbooks.

The high and middle schools will start at 8 a.m. and finish at 3:15 p.m. 

Corse, Grimes and North Hill Elementary schools will start at 8:30 a.m. and get out at 3:30 p.m., and Sunnyside and Black Hawk Elementary schools will be from 8:45 a.m. to 3:45 p.m.

Handbooks will be updated to reflect the changes, and calls will be made to remind parents of the start times Aug. 21. School starts Aug. 23.

Reach Michaele Niehaus with story tips, suggestions or documents at mniehaus@thehawkeye.com or (319) 758-8149.