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Substitute teachers in the School District of Menomonie Area will see a pay increase.

The district’s board of education unanimously approved recommended changes to compensation at its board meeting Monday.

Approved was an increase to $120 per day and a $211.86 per day for long-term substitutes.

The increase to $120 is a $5 increase from the recommendations brought before the board at it previous meeting on Sept. 9.

“After talking with all the superintendents of CESA 11 and hearing about what other people are planning to do over the next few weeks, I do feel it is important that we do move that to $120 per day,” District Administrator Joe Zydowsky said.

Previously the district compensated $108.80 per day. Long-term substitute pay increases from $128.52.

With a declining pool of substitute teachers, district officials said an increase was needed to be comparable to surrounding districts. Another factor taken into account is a higher number of expected maternity/paternity leaves during the school year than usual in the district.

Student learning objectives and state achievement results from this past spring were shared by Brian Seguin, director of instruction, assessment and 4K programming.

Results come from the Wisconsin Forward exam for elementary and middle school students, the ACT Aspire assessment for ninth and 10th graders and the ACT for 11th grade students.

The district, like much of the state, has seen decreases in proficiency levels among students on the assessments.

“Local, regionally and across the state the generality is there is a general downward trend that is occurring across the state when it comes to the overall proficiency levels,” Seguin said.

In the Forward exams, Menomonie had a 38 percent proficiency and above level in English language arts tests according to Wisconsin Information System for Education Data Dashboard data. That number was 41.7 percent for math exams.

In ACT testing Menomonie has a proficiency and above level of of 37.2 percent in English language arts and 34 percent in math.

Board member Chris Freeman said it is important to look at the demographics of the district and the higher level of poverty in the Menomonie area compared to other districts in the region.

School funding isn’t adjusted for the need of districts and students across the board are unable to test as proficient or above, Freeman added.

“By definition we’re failing but that means that there’s something wrong with the measure,” Freeman said.

Where the district has seen a close in achievement gaps, Seguin said, is with English as a Second Language learners.

In English language arts exams previously, these students have faced more of a challenge and while they aren’t testing equal to their peers, they have been trending in the right direction.

“Over the last few years we’ve started to see a closing of the gap where in comparison to their non-(English language learning) peers they’re not at the level of proficiency, but they’re more proficient than they were when you look at their trend lines,” Seguin said.

Data from state achievement testing can be found at wisedash.dpi.wi.gov.

The district has seen a slight decrease in enrollment during previous years, according to preliminary attendance counts.

The official count was taken Friday and it still being calculated but the unofficial count taken a week prior was 3,411 students. This number is a decrease of 22 students from last year, Zydowsky said.

The next board of education meeting will be held Oct. 14 at the district’s administrative service center.

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