School board approves DCEA agreement, SACC price increase


The Delaware City Schools Board of Education approved an agreement with one of the district’s unions, increased School Age Child Care (SACC) program prices, and approved staffing changes at its meeting Monday.

At the start of the meeting, which was held in the board room at Willis Education Center, Kristen Wilder, one of the co-presidents of the Delaware City Educators Association (DCEA), thanked the board and the district’s administration team for the “collaborative and positive” negotiations that took place over the past month.

“(DCEA and the district) actively make the choice to listen to each other and work with each other to reach our common goal, and that goal is to create a top-notch learning environment for our students,” Wilder said. “This collaboration is happening every day and has been happening for many years. We work together, we trust each other, and because of this, we make amazing things happen in this district.”

Wilder said the parties were able to “reflect on previous negotiations and reach an agreement very quickly this year,” and she called it a “beautiful and collaborative process.”

Later in the meeting, Executive Director of Human and Material Resources Jerry Stewart echoed that sentiment and said there was “trust and respect” between the parties during negotiations.

Also during the meeting, the board approved the tentative agreements reached in negotiations with the DCEA pursuant to the reopener in the DCEA agreement for Aug. 1, 2024 to July 31, 2025.

The board also heard from Pam Stoyer, the district’s SACC supervisor, who said the district would be raising the fees for the program. Stoyer said the district works hard to keep prices as low as possible for the more than 400 families in the program but said costs surrounding food and operating expenses have risen, necessitating an increase in rates.

Stoyer said there will be a weekly increase of $2 for morning only or afternoon only; an increase of $10 for morning and afternoon programs; and an increase of $20 for summer programs. The board approved the rate increase.

Near the end of the meeting, Superintendent Heidi Kegley gave the board an update on the Facilities Committee. She said the district is organizing and analyzing the information it received from the more than 1,500 responses to the facilities survey.

“We are really doing what other districts wish they could do; have the conversation before there’s an immediate need,” Kegley said. “This important work. We want to take the time to have the right conversations and want to make sure we’re not missing anything the community has shared with us. (We’re) working to ensure we have a well represented group.”

Board President Ted Backus said he’d like to put a Facilities Committee update on future board agendas as a regular discussion item.

“Everyone sees this as an important endeavor, and so we want to make sure it stays out in the forefront,” Backus said.

The district also approved a number of staffing changes, including accepting the resignations of Erin Castillo, a cook/cashier at Dempsey Middle School; Tami Holton, a cook/cashier at Schultz Elementary School; Ashlea Oliver, an educational assistant at Conger Elementary School; and Katreena Stidam, an educational assistant at Schultz.

The board also approved the retirement of Betsy Tefend, an intervention specialist at Woodward Elementary School, and Julie Halmbacher, a bus driver. Additionally, during the Dec. 11, 2023 meeting, the board approved the retirement of Joyce King, an administrative assistant at Conger.

The board approved a number of employments, including Brenda Bailey, an educational assistant at Conger; Peter Beck, a bus driver; Deborah Bevan, a custodian at Dempsey; Lauren Carr, an educational assistant at Conger; Billie Hecker, a cook/cashier at Schultz; Stephanie Scheiderer, a cook/cashier at Dempsey; Robert Summerfield, a bus driver; and Amber Wittkugle, a SACC program assistant.

The board will meet next on March 4.

Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903.

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