During Monday’s special Duneland School Board meeting for next year’s
budget, School Superintendent Dirk Baer said the latest enrollment figures
show a current total of 5,950 students.
That is 23 students more than last year.
Hikes were seen at the high school were student figures passed the 2,000
mark. Baer said what’s more unusual is a jump in the number of third
graders, 37 total throughout the district, which prompted school officials
to hire two more third grade teachers, Sharon Haussman at Brummitt
Elementary and Allison Mysliwiec at Liberty Elementary.
Board vice-president Mike Trout added that even a few more students are
likely to arrive after Labor Day.
The numbers can change and likely will when enrollments will be counted by
the state on Friday, Sept. 14 to determine schools’ average daily membership
(ADM). The figure is used to determine how much funding a school will
receive. A second count will be taken in February, Baer said.
Board member Ralph Ayres said an increase in enrollment is good news for
Duneland as many public schools are reporting declines. Part of the reason
is attributed to the emerging number of charter schools throughout the state
which are taking in more students.
The local Discovery Charter School’s enrollment figure as of Wednesday was
452 students, which was 100 more than the previous year.
“With that, we are still growing,” Ayres said.
Last week’s first day of classes saw the Brummitt and Jackson Elementary
schools dispersing hand sanitizer and water bottles as a precaution when
high bacteria counts were found in the water a few days before.
The two schools are the only ones in the district that use well water.
Addressing concerns as to why the wells were not tested sooner, Baer said
the state decides when school districts must conduct tests quarterly each
To clarify, Baer said the water had not been contaminated but only
experienced a slight buildup of bacteria, which he said is commonly seen by
anyone with a well. The incidents occurred because a valve had been broken
by workers during testing at Brummitt and the tank at Jackson needed to be
shocked with chlorine.
Both schools were tested safe for consumption and back on well water Monday,
Baer said, but the students didn’t seem to mind drinking bottled water.
“Kids think it’s cool. Parents get a little panicky,” Baer said.
Apart from water issues, Baer said no other complaints were heard and no
incidents occurred with transportation.
“We’re off to a good start this year,” he said.
In more personnel matters, the board approved Baer’s recommendation of
hiring Greg Lindy as the school corporation’s new director of support
Lindy identified himself as being a Valparaiso native and received a few
playful jeers. He responded that “anyone in the Duneland conference is
number one” with him.
Baer said Lindy has 16 years of comparable work experience while in
Illinois. He succeeds Mark McKibben who oversaw Duneland’s maintenance and
custodial matters for nearly 20 years.
Lindy will officially join the Duneland family on Tuesday, Sept. 4.
Assistant Superintendent Monte Moffett provided a list of other
appointments. Kindergarten teacher Jacob Havner will transfer from Brummitt
Abby Collins will teach second grade at Bailly.
Remediation aides include Nicole Clark at Bailly and Stacy Vesling at
Jackson. Instructional aides include Heather Overla at LIS; Janice Slach,
Corinne Keane and Bethany Eveland at Yost. Title 1 aides include Alicia
Grundell at Bailly and Kelly Fields at Yost. Lydia Estridge will be a RtI
aide at Brummitt.
Resigning is Lisa Wing, an RtI aide at Yost.
On medical leave is Bailly second grade teacher Amy Annen until Oct. 24.
Moffett also named a number of coaching positions at Chesterton Middle
School. Evan Steiner, Football Assistant and 7th Grade Track; Bryan Eaton,
Football Assistant; Keith Underwood, 7th Grade Boys Basketball; Penny
Ballestero, Cheer; Dan Barkas, Girls B Basketball; Diane Mrak, 8th Grade B
Volleyball; Sam Marshall, Football Assistant; Katie Cahilane, Boys Cross