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DPS speech specialists get nearly $100,000 in compensation

Two distinct sets of tears were shed mid-Friday at a special meeting of the Dickinson Public Schools board held to address a grievance filed by the district's speech-language pathologists.

Two distinct sets of tears were shed mid-Friday at a special meeting of the Dickinson Public Schools board held to address a grievance filed by the district's speech-language pathologists.

Tears first flowed from some of the SLPs as the discouraged group of specialists waited outside the board room for a decision on their grievance during an executive session.

The second and more important set of tears were happier, and were shared by some members of the school board after the meeting where the board agreed to grant the SLPs an additional 34 days of retroactive pay as part of a total of nearly $100,000 in compensation.

As the specialists moved to exit the board room when all was done, they expressed the satisfaction of being recognized for putting in a school year of long hours.

"Hallelujah," one said with a laugh.

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At a special meeting held Monday, the school board partially granted the SLPs' grievance, which held that the pathologists had worked an additional 75 days beyond their contractual obligation due to a shortage of qualified specialists on the district payroll. The board agreed to pay the group some reimbursement of approximately $22,000 for lost preparation time.

At the Friday meeting, after a set of closed executive sessions in which the board discussed the situation with the district attorney, the board agreed to go further and grant the SLPs 34 days of compensation on top of the initial offer of reimbursed preparation time.

"This is based on federally mandated paperwork. It's based on caseload norms, it's based on a lot of research and data," DPS board President Sarah Ricks said. "... This is for a job that needed to be done, that they did."

Board Vice President Kris Fehr said its offer will go to the Dickinson Education Association, the bargaining group for the district's teachers and school specialists, and must be approved by that organization before it's completed.

Without benefits calculated in, Ricks said the 34 days of compensation will come out to $76,000, for a total reimbursement of a little under $100,000.

Related Topics: DICKINSONDICKINSON PUBLIC SCHOOLS
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