(BEDFORD) – Superintendent Ty Mungle was hired as interim Superintendent to analyze a variety of departments within the North Lawrence Community Schools. This includes facilities, enrollment, personnel, operations, and transportation. His determinations were based from similar school corporations such as Seymour, Martinsville, and North Vernon.
The North Lawrence Community School Corporation has faced declining enrollment for the past 21 years, according to Mungle. There are a variety of factors that affected student enrollment such as the increase in homeschooling, population declines, and birth rates. The decrease in enrollment has put a financial burden on the corporations generating revenue for the school corporation. According to census totals, only seven counties in Indiana have experienced an increase in enrollment.
For the school corporations to break even, it takes 300 students per school building. The state gives the corporations $6,000 per student. In order, to pay the principals, teachers, teacher aides and other staff it costs approximately $1.8 million to operate each school in the North Lawrence Community Schools. Fourteen buildings are being used in NLCS. Typical school corporations have between four or five elementary schools, one middle school and a high school in similar size to the NLCS. Eleven out of the fourteen NLCS buildings are under the 300 enrollment figure.
Mungle referenced his knowledge from his past experience when analyzing specific areas within the school system. Such areas include ADA compliance, fire alarms, security, security systems and School Resource Officers.
Mungle compared NLCS to other school corporations salaries, benefits, both certified and non-certified transportation, and other employee compensation. Mungle determined NLCS areas were lagging. Mungle encouraged the board to look closely at NLCS daily operations. Mungle urged the board of the need to streamline the efficiency for process improvement. Most schools operate at a 25 to 1 teacher to student ratio. The average teacher to student ratio at NLCS is 18-1. Mungle’s goal is to take classroom sizes to a 22-1 ratio.
NLCS has recently experienced twenty retirements.These retirements within the North Lawrence Community Schools are elementary school teachers. At this time Mungle is not planning to fill these positions. Mungle stated the plan was to retain the current remaining teaching positions.
Mungle stated “The time has come for the corporation to be better stewards of tax payer’s money. The State of Indiana is responsible for providing the $6,000 per student revenue to the school corporation. There have been a few school corporations in the state that was not good stewards to taxpayer money, and the state stepped in and took over those corporations. We are not at that point; however, the time has come for us to start looking at bringing the efficiency of resources and costs to our corporation.”
Mungle states ” We must realize this task is above one Superintendent, and a School Board. We must invite the public, and other vital players in looking at these issues and how the community will want the school corporation to being used in the next five years. Some of the questions have been looked at but, others remain on whether some schools will need to be closed.”
He cautioned board members and those in attendance there are not planned changes in the 2019-2020 school year. Superintendent Mungle recommended a comprehensive study. Mungle would like to create a committee to look at the recommendations of that report. The committee needs to consist of a variety of people from the community.Mungle would like to attract school board members, business leaders, school teachers, staff, principals and other members within our area. There is no set timeline when this comprehensive study and committee will be formed.
Board President Trent Todd noted this was the first time the school board has heard the report. “We will not be looking at anything in the immediate future. The 2019-2020 school year will be without any major changes. It will take the whole community to weigh in, as we shape and move forward. There have been things, that we learned tonight that should have been shared a long time ago.”
In other business, the school board hired Bradley Street as North Lawrence Career Director. He will begin on July 1, 2019.
“I believe this is a great opportunity. Looking forward I will learn as much as possible then work with the staff community and local industry so that our students can find success in their chosen occupation,” says Bradley Street.