McCOOK, Nebraska -- McCook School Board members on the Negotiation Committee are in talks with the local teacher's union on next year's salaries and benefits.
The committee, comprised of Tom Bredvick, Sandy Krysl and Shane Messersmith, have been meeting with the McCook Education Association, with the latest meeting Tuesday morning.
Messersmith told the school board at the regular meeting Monday night that both groups hope to have an agreement by January.
Contracts will be effective for the school year 2012-13, from July 1 to June 30.
There are 113 certified teachers at McCook Public Schools.
As part of the process, the committee, as well as the MEA, will be looking at salaries/benefits at schools similar in size and location to McCook, for comparison,
Bredvick said after Monday night's meeting that the Nebraska Legislature recently passed a law, effective 2013, that mandates negotiations between school districts and teacher unions be finalized by March 25 or 25 days of state aid certification.
Salary/benefit negotiations are not discussed in open meetings per state law, but the school board will be asked to approve the finalized agreements in an open session.
In other business at Monday's meeting, progress on the new agricultural classroom was discussed.
Jay Shilling, a volunteer with the project, said a work day scheduled Dec. 3 had a "outstanding turnout," with many FFA boosters and students lending a hand.
The total project involves installing a new wall and suspended ceiling for a classroom in the old auto mechanics shop room. It includes new carpet and new door, drywall work and painting.
Most of the work is being done by volunteers and maintenance staff at McCook Schools.
The remodeling is being funded by $12,000 in donations and about $40,000 from the school, confirmed Business Manager Rick Haney.
The most expensive item in the renovation was the fire sprinkler system, Superintendent Grant Norgaard said after Monday's meeting.
Shilling thanked Chris Wallace and the maintenance staff at McCook Schools for their help; Rick Haney and the rest of the administration for their support of the project, as well as Chad and Mike Brenning "for their expertise and time" with the ren ovation.