One of the most emotional items on the Gretna School Board agenda Monday night was a simple line item.
“Consider approval of personnel.”
Inside that item was the letter of retirement from Thomas Elementary principal Patti Brownlee.
“She has been here for 25 years,” Gretna Superintendent Kevin Riley said. “This is a huge blow. She’s been a fixture in Gretna Elementary and Thomas Elementary for two and a half decades. She’ll be difficult to replace.”
The board even joked about voting it down just to keep the longtime principal around for another year. Brownlee, who said Tuesday at her desk at Thomas Elementary that she still loves her job, had written an emotional letter to the board about her retirement.
Eventually, the board approved her retirement by a 6-0 vote along with the letters of resignation from two other Gretna teachers.
Allison Goff, an elementary teacher at Palisades, resigned effective immediately after eight years with the school, and Janelle Brester resigned effective at the end of the year after seven years with the district.
In other board items:
• The board approved the negotiated agreement for teacher’s salaries. The base salary will increase $500 to $33,950 starting salary.
Teachers will also be paid $21 an hour for curriculum work outside the negotiated school days. Working sports games will now pay a flat $12.50 per hour instead of a wide range of pay for different events.
The overall negotiated agreement increased 3.25 percent, which board vice-president Dave Gulizia said was an average of other schools in the Eastern Midlands Conference.
• Riley’s contract will be extended for three years starting July 1, 2014.
• The board gave first round approval to a change in the inclement weather policy. The existing school board policy states that, should students be released from school early, the parents will be notified by KFAB radio station. With all the changes in modern technology and social media, the announcement being on the radio seemed extremely outdated. Riley suggested the policy be changed to parents being notified by the school district message service.
For more on how schools decide on snow days, see the story on Page A3.