Archive for Thursday, July 13, 2006

School district takes on a new look

July 13, 2006

Monday night was the changing of the guard at the Baldwin Board of Education meeting, with a few other changes for the upcoming year.

It was the first meeting for Supt. Paul Dorathy with the school board. He was hired in March, but didn't officially take over until July 1.

"I felt it was really good," Dorathy said of his first meeting in the district. "We had lots of good discussion. All of the board members are participating. I think they are eager to try and do good things for the district."

After the agenda was approved for the night, the next step was to choose a board president. Former School Board President Lonnie Broers nominated Board Member Alison Bauer, former board vice president, for the role as school board president.

Bauer was voted in unanimously as board president.

"It is not a position that I aspired to," Bauer said of the president's role. "It wasn't something that I originally sought, however I am very proud to be nominated. I hope to do my job wisely and well."

Then Broers nominated Board Member Blaine Cone as vice president, who was also voted in unanimously.

The school board then voted 7-0 to accept the routine organizational items that it does every July meeting.

Those included the district's depositories, official publication, special education coop representatives and the petty cash amounts to the schools.

One change in the list of items was appointing Bob Bezek as the school board's attorney. Bezek is a partner in the Ottawa law firm Bezek, Lowry and Hendrix. He is also the former attorney for the City of Baldwin City.

"There are three reasons," Dorathy said of hiring Bezek. "One is that I have worked with Bob in the past, so I am very familiar with him. The second is he is a district patron, so he has a good understanding of what is going on here. The third reason is he is very much an expert in educational law. I just felt really comfortable and had no problem recommending him to the school board.

"There is no retainer," Dorathy said. "He didn't charge the district a retainer. So we will use him as we need to."

The other noticeable change for the upcoming year will be the location of the school board meetings. Lauridsen suggested that all meetings be moved to the District Office, instead of traveling to one of the schools every other month.

"As we're continually asking them to be better educational leaders and do more, I think we should try to take more off their plates," Lauridsen said of the building administrators. "I suggest we hold all of the meetings here at the District Office."

Baldwin Junior High School Principal Connie Wright liked the idea.

"I love having you guys coming to our buildings, but it's a very late night," Wright said.

After the meeting, Bauer said the school board members will still try to visit each building, but the meeting location will be simpler.

"I am glad to take that responsibility off of the administrators, however as a board, we need to endeavor to get out to those buildings anyway," Bauer said. "It will make it less confusing for patrons and it lessens the work for our administrators. In that regard, I am glad."

At the end of the meeting, the school board recessed the meeting until 7 p.m. July 24 at the District Office.

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