Archive for Thursday, June 28, 2007

School board approves retirement plan, other items

June 28, 2007

Classified employees in the Baldwin School District now have a package to assist them in retirement.

On Monday night the Board of Education discussed and approved several items on the agenda. One of those was the classified retirement proposal, which passed unanimously.

"I think this is a good benefit for those who have stayed loyal to the district for a very long time," Supt. Paul Dorathy said. "It is very good for those employees."

Despite the approval Monday night, the board did put a stipulation on the package. The retirement deal will end in three years unless the board chooses to keep it going.

The board wants to make sure it is saving money with this retirement package. That is why it will stop after three years and evaluate the financial side of the deal before continuing it.

During Monday's lengthy meeting, the board also looked at several items, including handbooks, vehicle purchase and an organizational chart.

First came the budget hearing at 8 p.m. This was to approve the republishing of the funds that were discussed at the June 4 meeting. They were republished and no protests were brought up Monday. The budgets were approved 7-0.

"This is going to help us in some areas," Dorathy said. "It will bring in more money from Topeka that we should have for bringing in more students and maintaining grants."

The next item on the agenda was the approval of handbooks. The board voted 7-0 to approve the Baldwin Junior High School and the activities handbooks.

Board President Alison Bauer commented to Activities Director Gary Stevanus that she was happy to find insurance forms in the activities handbook.

"I was pleased to see it," Bauer said. "It is excellent. I didn't find anything to ask you about, though."

With the handbooks approved, the board moved right along to purchasing a vehicle. Dorathy informed the board members he found a minivan for $23,116.16.

He said the school board set aside $25,000 in the capital outlay fund for a vehicle purchase.

The item that received the most discussion was the organizational/evaluation chart. It was proposed by Board Member Scott Lauridsen last year and has been discussed several times.

On Monday, the board looked at three charts that Dorathy created. Each one was slightly different, with the chain of command varying in each. The original reason for the change was to make the building principals better education leaders by removing some duties from their day.

"My philosophy is it's an accountability matrix," Lauridsen said. "If the principals are truly running the buildings, why do we have directors in some of these areas?"

Dorathy responded by saying the change in organization would require a change in philosophy from administrators and the community.

"The principals feel they are ultimately responsible for anything that happens in their buildings," Dorathy said. "It's a public mindset."

Board Member Ande Parks asked a question that sparked interest from the board and the principals in attendance.

"There is a problem with the communication in the community," Parks said. "How will someone feel if they call the building, ask the principal something and the principal says they are not in charge of that and they should contact someone else?"

That question forced the board to ask some of the administrators at the meeting what would happen if certain situations arose. The principals said contacting the maintenance director or transportation director every time an issue comes up isn't always feasible.

Deb Ehling-Gwin, Baldwin Elementary School Primary Center principal, gave the example of a cook or custodian being sick for a day. She said she has to find someone to fill in or she has to do it.

The discussion ended shortly after the principals spoke. The board decided to meet with the administrators to find a solution to this proposal, which might end up as an evaluation chart for the administrators.

After meeting in executive session, the board approved the personnel report. It included the hiring of Mary Ruppert (Marion Springs Elementary School food service site manager), Amanda Piken (MSES 4-year-old program instructor) and Cheryl Chamberlin (Baldwin High School secretary/receptionist).

The next school board meeting will be at 7 p.m. July 9. It will be the first meeting for newly elected Board Member Joshua Mihesuah.

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