The Milan Board of School Trustees met in special session prior to its regularly scheduled meeting on Monday, January 14, for the purpose of reorganization.
Present were board members Timothy Tuttle, Gregory Lewis, Edward Amberger, Randy Kirk and Jason Honeycut. Also in attendance were Dr. Thomas Reale, superintendent, and school attorney, Larry Eaton.
Both meetings opened with the pledge to the flag. A moment of silence was held in memory of the late Nancy Hershman, who drove a bus for the school corporation.
Following the pledge and approval of December's minutes, the floor was open to patrons and staff. Karen Schmidt, middle school instructional aide, asked the board if they had considered upgrading school security since the incident at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut. Dr. Reale explained that emergency response plans currently in place are under review to see where security can be increased.
Dr. Reale said that the corporation could possibly seek grants to fund physical altercations to the middle and high school buildings similar to the elementary where visitors would need to enter the front office prior to gaining entry to the rest of the building. The question of teachers carrying guns was raised by Kirk. Members also discussed having security guards and/or police officers patrolling the grounds. Dr. Reale is expected to bring further information regarding this discussion to the February meeting.
It was the opinion of Carla Holt, elementary teacher, that most teachers are able to tell which students would be most likely to cause major problems in the future. She stressed that troubled children are not receiving appropriate help in the schools, adding that the system hides behind rules and regulations of special education and mental health. Holt said that it is unusual for these troubled children to become violent or aggressive; however, instead of thinking of what's best for the children, parents come into the school to fight to keep them in the school system.
Newly elected members of the school board, Edward Amberger and Jason Honeycutt, were sworn in by attorney Eaton. Nominations of officers followed. Tuttle was unanimously nominated to continue his service as president of the board. Lewis was nominated for vice president and Kirk for secretary. Both won their respective nominations.
Gretchen Berger was approved as the corporation treasurer and Pamela Holbert as deputy treasurer. Dr. Reale or his designee was appointed to serve as the representative for the career center, Southeastern Learning Center, Wilson Education Center, and ROD. Other appointees were Kirk as the ISBA legislative representative, Attorney Eaton as corporation attorney, and board officers as the Board of Finance.
Board members also unanimously approved participation in the At Risk, Title I Program, High Ability, Prime Time, ROD Special Education Cooperative, School Food and Nutrition Program, Southeastern Career Center, Southeastern Learning Center, Textbook Rental Program, Wilson Education Center, Unified Purchasing Cooperative of the Ohio River Valley, Indiana Virtual Acacemy, Southeastern Indiana Schools Study Council, and Southeastern Indiana School Insurance Consortium.
Kirk raised questions regarding fees for participation in any of the above-mentioned areas, as well as whether or not the corporation is actively using all of the programs mentioned. Dr. Reale responded by saying that fees were paid for the Wilson Education Center and Study Council, adding that the benefits outweighed the fees.
Kirk motioned to approve the Osgood Journal and The Versailles Republican as the designated newspaper for advertisements. The motion carried. Amberger also motioned to approve a conflict of interest disclosure statement for Berger, which was also unanimously agreed upon.
Members agreed upon a regular meeting calendar for 2013-14. Meetings will continue as in the past on the third Monday of each month, beginning at 7 p.m. in the corporation administration building, with the exception of the following: February 11, 2013; March 11, 2013; January 13, 2014; February 10, 2014,; March 10, 2014; and January 12, 2014, which fall on the second Monday of the month. The executive session adjourned at 7:14 p.m., immediately followed by the regular monthly meeting.
In other business, Dr. Reale announced that veteran bus drivers, Debra Hackman and Linda Hyde, are no longer employed by the school corporation. He stated that on separate occasions, both Hackman and Hyde failed to report for their assigned duties, adding that it must have been their decision to end their employment with the corporation. These are the same two drivers who approached the board late last year to contest line 8 of the new revised employee handbook stating that if a career center driver turns down an assignment that their positions would be surrendered.
Dr. Reale said that five other drivers have expressed interest in sharing the responsibility of driving these routes – Ken Lewis, John Brandt, Susan Starkey, Luann Konradi and Sandy Smith. He said that this will save the corporation money, as these drivers will not be paid the $10 pre-trip inspection, since they all have regular bus routes. It was noted that the career center routes will be offered to all drivers annually. Carol Kimla was unanimously approved as a driver and will be assigned to route #15.
In other employee news, Dr. Reale stated that he had accepted the resignation of Brian Henkel as the reserve basketball coach. Lewis motioned to approve Steven Stirn as the boys eighth grade basketball coach and Jacquelynn Steele to serve in place of Emily Halcomb during her maternity leave. The motions carried.
In old business, discussion continued on the adoption of a 2013-14 school calendar. Amberger said that people he has spoken with prefer a calendar similar to the one used this year. Tuttle's opinion was that a one-week fall break worked best for Milan. It was decided to table the discussion until the February meeting.
Last month, Dr. Reale presented a revision to policy #9259 - Fundraising, for a first reading and sought approval. The revision stated that money raised within an organization stay with that organization and any extra money raised would also remain with that organization to be used for its common good. The board voted and unanimously approved this revision.
Other policies reviewed and approved were policy #3550 regarding the use of corporation credit cards and policy #4150 outlining the professional dress code for school staff. It was noted that there are currently no issues with staff dress.
The following other requests and items were also approved:
• Anita Boggs to take 45 members of the Future Farmers of American (FFA) to the Farm Machinery Show in Louisville, Kentucky, on February 14.
• Stefani Bedel to take 60 members of the high school band on tour to Nashville, Tennessee from April 26-28.
• Fundraising request from the boys' basketball teams to host the 2013 Southern Indiana State Tournament games for the Northeast Regional for grades three through eight on February 9-10.
• PTO fundraiser where students will sell items from Little Caesar's Pizza from January 17 through February 1, to raise money for the library project.
• Middle school cheerleaders to hold a Valentine's dance on February 14.
• A lease agreement for MIST to use the pool on February 9 for their Lapapalooza.
• Resolution permitting Berger to continue paying the 2012 appropriations bills and to encumber appropriations for bills created in 2012 and payable in 2013.
• Payment of vendor checks, payroll checks, deposit advice, and the financial report.
In the superintendent's report, Dr. Reale said that he has received the preliminary budget from the state. He said that although there are some reductions in certain areas, the school should be fine for the upcoming fiscal year.
In closing, Dr. Reale and other members welcomed Honeycutt to the board and wished him a successful four-year term serving students, staff and patrons of Milan School Corporation. Honeycutt said that he is looking forward to serving on the board, adding that school security is his top priority.
With no further business to discuss, the meeting was adjourned at 7:42 p.m. The next regular meeting of the Milan Board of School Trustees will be Monday, February, 11, in the school administration building.