Onaway looks at new terms for district band teacher deal

ONAWAY – Members of Onaway Area Community Schools are waiting to see the new terms of a deal between the district’s band teacher and Pellston Public Schools.

Board members opted to wait at their Tuesday meeting before renewing a contract with part-time band teacher Jennifer Smernica, District Superintendent Rod Fullerton said. They need more information from Pellston, where Smernica works for half of her day. It’s a way for both districts to provide a music program, something Onaway can no longer afford on a full-time basis.

Onaway’s contract is essentially the same as last year’s where Smernica splits her day between the two districts, teaching two blocks at Onaway in the morning and two blocks at Pellston in the afternoon, Fullerton said. She’s paid for both by Onaway Schools, which in turn bills Pellston for their portion of her salary.

Pellston, however, wants to renegotiate a few minor details of its contract with Smernica, Fullerton said.

“They want to change the amount they added into the salary cost for the band director stipend,” he said. “They want to pay it per diem rather than just a set amount.”

For the 2012-13 school year, Onaway paid Smernica1 $24,900, and billed Pellston $22,764 for their share, Fullerton said. She spends a little more time at Onaway schools, which explains the two different amounts.

Onaway board members will take the contract up again at their Aug. 27 workshop, set for 7 p.m. at the Onaway Media Center, Fullerton said.

Smernica’s arrangement has gone well for Onaway, where she’s brought a lot to her position, board President Sharon Lyon said.

“She’s a dynamite teacher. I can’t imagine them not being as pleased with her as we are,” she said.

Smernica hired on as a part-time teacher, and her time at Pellston means she works something closer to a full-time job, Lyon said. The district hoped her agreement with Pellston would be a “win-win” for her, as it would make her job closer to a full-time one.

In other business:

* board members Pam Lovelace and Mike Moreau will serve on a technology committee to assess where the district stands with its classroom technology, as well as determine future goals, Fullerton said.

* board members approved a few minor changes to the high school student handbook, including a few items concerning athletics.

Jordan Travis can be reached via email at jtravis@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5688.