Chesterton Tribune



School board OKs pay hikes for non-teachers

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Over 200 classified staff members at Duneland Schools -- or those who do not hold licenses by the state -- will receive an increase in pay for the first time in over five years.

The school board approved unanimously a “one-time stipend” to salaries for classified staff which include custodians, mechanics, cafeteria workers and bus drivers.

The total appropriation is about $218,000, said Superintendent of Schools David Pruis who made the recommendation to the board. Pruis said the amount stems from savings Duneland has achieved over the year from its General Fund, Transportation Fund, Capital Projects Fund, Food Service Fund and its Referendum Fund.

Pruis said that school administrators have made sure that the step up in pay for these employees is “affordable and sustainable” to the school corporation. Some classified staff have not received any extra compensation other than the required increases for their insurance since the state made changes to the school funding formula in about 2010, Pruis said.

The reason behind the boost in salaries is that positions have been “realigned,” with staff taking on more responsibility. “Many of our staff has assumed new roles. There are more demands and expectations,” Pruis said.

Classified staff who have accepted more responsibility will receive their stipend at the start of this next school year, Pruis said.

No member of the board made comments when the vote was under discussion.

Superintendent/Administrator contracts

Also approved in personnel matters, the board unanimously agreed on a motion made by Vice-President Kristin Kroeger to extend Pruis’ superintendent contract with his term starting in July 2015 and ending in July 2018. A public hearing had been opened and closed at the previous board meeting on July 13.

They also approved extension for other administrator contracts that originally had been approved in 2013. The contracts will extend to 2017.

Board President Ralph Ayres commented that no change in compensation have been made to the contracts.

Lunch prices on the rise

The board voted to accept the required increases in school lunch prices as mandated by the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010.

Students lunch costs will rise 10 cents this upcoming school year with Grades K-6 being $2.45 and 7-12 being $2.65. Adults will be charged $3.50.

Brown Mansion

In other business, the board accepted a donation of $15,000 from the Westchester Public Library Board of Trustees that will be used for needed renovations at the historic Brown Mansion where the Westchester Twp. History Museum is housed.

The School Corporation has owned the building for a long time and allows the Library to operate the museum there through a positive collaboration, Ayres said.

Duneland Director of Support Services Greg Lindy said he is working with the architect on taking note of what structural improvements need to done, such as replacing the wood trim inside.

The Library’s donation will cover roughly half of the costs, he said.

Ayres thanked the Library and encouraged the public to visit the museum’s new exhibit celebrating the 125th anniversary of the first Chesterton High School graduation.

Personnel Report

Meanwhile, Duneland added another teacher to its list of retirees for the year, bringing the total number of years experience to over 300 that will be leaving Duneland.

Brummitt Elementary 2nd Grade teacher Carolyn Harden retired effective Aug. 1. Harden taught 44 years at Duneland, primarily first and second grade, and also spent seven additional years teaching in Mississippi, assistant superintendent Monte Moffett said.

Principals introduced three new teachers to the board. Liberty Elementary principal Christy Jarka presented Holly Koedyker who will be a High Ability teacher for Duneland.

A former athletic director, Kimberly Stento is returning to Duneland after taking time off to help raise her family. She will be the Health and Physical Education teacher at CMS.

New to CHS, Jonathon Cannell has been hired as an English teacher.

“I could tell this is a community with such excellent schools,” said Cannell.

In the personnel report, appointments include Carrie Sorrells as a registrar for CHS, Emily Wilt as media secretary for WIS, Brandi Henning as secretary for Brummitt Elementary, Kelly DeValle as a food service kitchen helper, Karen Rutkowski as an ELL Aide at Liberty Elementary, Lisa Lowe as a Title 1 aide for Liberty Elementary, Andrea Pappas as a RtI aide at Liberty Elementary, and Helena Royko as a morning recess aide at WIS.

New bus drivers include Colleen Wilson, Ashley Kolivas, Gail Reich, Sandra Phelps and bus aide Sherrie Dobrowski.

Resignations include WIS media secretary Carrie Sorrells, CMS Health and Physical Education teacher Ken Florek, Brummitt Elementary technology aide Brandi Henning, Brummitt Elementary instructional aide Jane Korpak, WIS lunch/recess aide Suzanne Henry, bus driver Dawn Stewart, food service cashiers Susan Starr and Jennifer Meyer, desktop technician Kynan Wallace, IMC secretary Esther Slack, CHS lunch aide Vicki Smith, and food service kitchen helpers Lynn Enright, Donna Moreno and Julie Behrendt.

Retiring are food service cashier Diane Redlarczyk and bus driver Maureen Eckert.

Coaching appointments include Kellie Cahillane as CHS Girls Cross Country assistant coach, Kelly Bonich as CHS Gymnastics assistant coach, Christy Dzierba as volunteer gymnastics assistant and Mitzi Burris as CHS Cheerleading volunteer assistant.

Resigning is CMS 8th Grade Volleyball coach Ashley Gordeneer.


Posted 8/11/2015




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