North Lawrence Community Schools Visionary Committee Underway

(BEDFORD) – On Thursday night, Dr. Ty Mungle provided details on creating a North Lawrence Community Schools Visionary Committee.

The Committee will consist of 30-32 different stakeholders in the community. Those individuals will be chosen to lead a visionary committee of approximately 30-32 people from diverse backgrounds including members of the business community, educators, parents, and other stakeholders. This group would make recommendations to the school board.

In order to be open and transparent, Mungle presented to the public the situation that the school system has been in for the past ten years.

Dr. Mungle showed the enrollment numbers of all of the schools in the North Lawrence Community Schools system. This includes the elementary schools, middle schools and high school. He also presented the salaries of the North Lawrence Community Schools teachers, grades from the Indiana Department of Education and the high school graduation rates.

He stated that the need to address these issues now is very important, as the corporation is teetering on the edge of the state taking over the school corporation if these issues are not addressed.

Dr. Mungle states that the 2010-2011 school year showed 5,374 students enrolled in a portion of the school system. The enrollment numbers for the 2019-2020 school year currently stands at 4,659. This is a decline of over 715 students during the last ten years. The corporation receives $6,000 per student, thus creating a loss of over $4,290,000.

Student transfers out of the corporation have affected the corporation as the state has allowed parent choice to take place. Locally, parents have transferred their children using Choice Scholarship with 70 students, Charter Schools with 123 students, Parent Choice with 147 students and other options with 6 students.

Every elementary school in the area has seen a decrease in enrollment from 2014-2015 to 2018-2019. The Bedford Middle School has seen a decrease from 567 students in 2014-2015 to 544 students in 2018-2019. Enrollment at Bedford North Lawrence High School stood at 1614 students in 2014-2015 and is now at 1483 students in the 2018-2019 school year.

The costs of operating a school have also increased. This includes securing the doors, resource officers, and health care. Health care costs have risen over 63 percent. The school corporation changed from Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield to IU Health which has added expenses to some according to some North Lawrence Community Schools employees. Dr. Mungle states they will continue to look at some of these issues and figure out how to control these expenditures.

The other area where the corporation is looking at to improve is how to address the grades from the Indiana Department Of Education and then trying to improve the success rate at each school. “That may be taking a bus trip and see some of the things that make other schools successful in a school corporation our size,” Mungle stated.

North Lawrence Community Schools received a B in 2014-2015, a C in 2015-2016, a B in 2016-2017, and a C in 2017-2018.

Four elementary schools in the corporation received an A grade in 2014-2015. These schools included Dollens, Fayetteville, Lincoln, and Shawswick. In 2017-2018 Dollens received a D, Fayetteville a B, Lincoln remained a A, and Shawswick a B.

Needmore received a D grade for both 2014-2015 and 2017-2018, Parkview Intermediate received a B in 2014-2015 and a C in 2017-2018.

Middle school grades include Bedford Middle School receiving a C grade in 2014-2015 and a D in 2017-2018. Oolitic received a C in 2014-2015 and a D in 2017-2018. Shawswick received a C in both 2014-2015 and 2017-2018.

Bedford North Lawrence High School received a A grade in 2014-2015 and a B grade in the years following.

The next area Dr. Mungle presented to the public was teacher’s salaries. There are a total of 319 certified teachers in the North Lawrence Community Schools system. This compares to 97 teachers in Mitchell Community Schools.

The starting salary for a North Lawrence Community Schools teacher is $35,250 and top scale stands at $61,960.

Dr. Mungle compared the number of certified teachers and their starting out salaries as well as top scale for all area schools. Seymour Schools was the most comparable at 256 certified teachers with a starting salary of $39,852. A top scale is at $74,153. Monroe County Community Schools has a total of 715 certified teachers with a starting salary of $38,500 and a top scale of $78,484.

The lowest starting teacher salaries include; Medora, Crothersville, Bloomfield, North Lawrence Community Schools, West Washington, Paoli, Mitchell, MSD Shakamak, Shoals and Eastern Greene.

Top salaries include Monroe County Community Schools, Brownstown, Seymour, East Washington, Ricland- Beam Blossom, Salem, West Washington, Linton-Stockton, Loogootee, and Mitchell.

The North Lawrence Community Schools statement on the presentation includes the following:

“As North Lawrence continues our pursuit of excellence as the local education leader, we choose to be drivers of change. Several of our administrators are in new positions and new buildings. In leading a new staff and serving families, our leadership team continues to take on productive challenges, and grow professionally. As we focus on the growth of our staff, we commit to serving our community. Open enrollment policies now allow students to enroll in a school outside of their home district. This past year, 346 students from our community enrolled elsewhere. Yet, we will meet this challenge by ensuring the success of all our students. We must commit to providing high-quality experiences that engage all learners, and attract and retain families and staff in our schools.”

School board members thanked Dr. Mungle for taking the time to be open and transparent to the public. They also thanked him for taking the time to make Thursday’s presentation. Mungle thanked the public for attending.

All school board members encourage individuals to contact them by email, phone and other forms of communication. Dr. Mungle would like to have the committee up and running by August with a recommendation for the school board by January 2020. No decisions will be made in the 2019-2020 school year.