Standing Room Only At North Lawrence Community School Board Meeting

(BEDFORD) – The North Lawrence Community School Board meeting had a standing room only crowd on Thursday evening.

The school board meeting was almost 45 minutes late in getting started prompting School Board President Trent Todd to apologize for the late start.

The board started off with the public hearing in regards to the superintendent salary contract. $135,000 a year will be placed towards salary, $15,000 in health benefits, and $7,500 for a vehicle will be provided. No one commented to the board on the salary proposal.

In voting on the minutes and executive session of June 20, 2019, North Lawrence Community Schools Corporation School Board Member Kirsten Collier  abstained from the vote.

The biggest agenda item removed from Thursday’s board meeting was the transfers of various school principals in the school corporation, to which there are many. Some questioned the openness and transparency of the school board following the board meeting.

Several individuals from the Springville area are concerned over the transfer of John Hudson to Shawswick. Many reported the success of the school; with many parents and teachers working together to see great improvements there at the school. Many individuals expressed that they would hate to see Hudson move to another school.

Maintenance Director Steve Ritter gave a report on various projects to get the schools ready for the 2019-2020 school year. Ritter reports that some air conditioner repairs have taken place and some are being replaced completely. He also mentioned that it has been a difficult year getting the grass mowed due to the weather conditions. There is also talk of replacing the signs at the Parkview Schools. They want to convert them over to digital LED displays. Mr. Ritter also reports that it is getting difficult to get things moved quickly due to some staffing issues.

The Duane Boady Transportation Director reports that the school buses have been washed, cleaned and are ready for the new school year. The bus drivers will also get an update on new laws that went into effect in July of this year. The school corporation is still needing a few more drivers and monitors.

The rental prices for devices for grades 6 and 9 were approved with a $24 charge a semester for grade 6 and a $21 charge a semester for grade 9. This includes the device with a case. The state will reimburse the corporation for free and reduced students.

Wage increases for some employees were approved.

A. Non-certified substitute teachers pay starting from $57 a day to $65 a day.

B. Certified substitute teachers starting pay from $67 a day to $75 a day.

C. Retired substitute teachers starting pay to remain $80 a day.

D. Custodians starting pay from $9.67 hour to $11 hour.

E. Instructional assistants starting pay from $9.67 an hour to $10 hour.

F. Food services starting pay from $9.67 hour to $10 an hour.

G. Bus drivers starting pay to $20 an hour.

Kelly Storms Alternative School Director to attend the Juvenile Justice Conference in Indianapolis, Indiana on August 6-8, 2019 was approved.

The North Lawrence Community School board approved the use of Oolitic Middle School for the upcoming GOP Convention on August 15, 2019 at the Oolitic Middle School Gym.

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. They hope to have the committee formed in August 2019 and to make recommendations to the school board by January of 2020.

Four people addressed the school board Thursday evening during the public comment period.

The first person to address the school board was Jamie Davis from Wells Lane. They read the following statement regarding Principal John Hudson:

“First, I would like to thank you all for your leadership during these difficult times. I represent Springville, but I would like to say that I care about all of our schools.

“I would like to read an email from a respected colleague.  I didn’t write it, but we all feel the same way.  

“Mr. Hudson has completely turned our school around, to say the least. When he came, we began to work as a complete team. He has total teacher buy-in. I can honestly say that there is not a teacher in our building who is not changing their practices and working to be better for our students.

“We began to admit that “The Game Has Changed” and we must change as well. 

“A few examples of the work that we have started include focused PLCs, vertical articulation, priority standards, rigorous curriculum, trauma-informed teaching, and school-wide data analysis.

“When you walk through our building, you will see students who are aware of what priority standard they are working on that week, teachers using scales and weekly pre and post-tests to track data, and a leader who is involved in it every step of the way.

“We have each of our staff members working to check-in and check-out with students who have a rough home life. Our students are excited about their education, and also extremely involved in it. We are beginning the process of becoming a High- Reliability School. We truly focus on our students, not a single decision is made where they do not come first. 

This work is not finished. I would be willing to say we are two-thirds of the way into it. I am aware that Mr. Hudson is a great asset, and he would be great at any building or level.

“However, I do feel that taking him out of ours would not be beneficial. As far as I know, there are no buildings closing this year, so I ask what is the urgent need to move leaders now?

“I believe that if we are able to have at least one more year with him, we could be a great example for other buildings to follow. We are unique. We have dedicated, passionate individuals that are willing to work hard.

Again, these are not my words, but I believe in them.”

John Rothschild from Heltonville addressed the board regarding an email that he received from the school corporation discussing a transportation issue for his children. He asked the board to respond as to whom on the board supported the response. Dr. Mungle asked him to talk to him later, and the board did not respond to the request.

Tim Morrow also addressed the board, questioning the openness and transparency of the board.

The final person to address the board was an employee of the North Lawrence Corporation. J.D. Combs of Preston Lane in Springville addressed the board in regards to raises for North Lawrence Community School employees.

It was mentioned that he has previously asked about raises for existing North Lawrence Community School employees. He also mentioned that rising health care costs are a concern and that employees only received a 2 percent raise before the corporation changed from Anthem to IU Health Care and that their pay is being eaten up by health care costs.