Chesterton Tribune


School Board honors golf team and trades class approves budget

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Following a set of somber budget meetings, the tone for Monday’s Duneland School Board meeting was celebratory and rejuvenating with news about homecoming and the placing of the CHS Girls Golf team in the state finals.

First, CHS Assistant Principal Kevin Zeck said the school raised $2,875 for local and national charities over the course of seven days by selling the five 4’x 8’x 6’ homecoming playhouses with the Junior class’s “Pink House” and the Staff’s “Maroon & Gold House” leading the auctions.

The charities benefited included the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, Reef Environmental Education Foundation, Coaches vs. Cancer, World Wildlife Fund, and the Westchester Food Pantry & Christmas for Teens.

The houses were among 40 parade entries, along with floats from Chesterton Middle School, Westchester Middle School and over ten community floats.

“It was the biggest parade we’ve ever had,” said Zeck.

Lending a hand were over 130 volunteers for Build Night at CHS to glitz up the houses before the big day. Volunteers were given eight hours to decorate the houses.

Local businesses gave a total of $2,000 for the houses -- Anton Insurance, Serenity Environmental Services, Coldwell Banker Realtor Tami Bianco, Directors of Duneland Education Foundation, and Hopkins’ Ace Hardware.

The houses were all purchased on eBay by buyers living in the Duneland Schools District, Zeck said.

Adding to the list of successes, besides the CHS Football team’s victory over Portage, Zeck said the school dance fundraiser for Riley’s Children Hospital achieved a “Miracle School” designation.

Appreciation for Trades Class

But the big stars of Homecoming were the 27 students in the CHS Building Trades vocational class who spent 14 straight school days assembling and fortifying the Homecoming houses.

“These are high quality houses, not something you can pick up easily,” said Zeck.

A few students shared with the School Board Monday how the classes made an impact in their education. Some referred to the class as “a place where you can be yourself” but all credited their positive experiences to class instructor Jeff Larson.

School Board President Janice Custer presented a plaque of appreciation to Larson for giving 14 years of charitable service and continually making a difference in the lives of students.

“Words cannot describe what you do for our school and our school community” added Schools Superintendent Dirk Baer.

Larson humbly accepted the honor and gave further recognition to his students who he said enjoy working for generous causes.

“We always need something to rally around. The kids really stepped up. A lot of us took pride in the whole (Homecoming) project,” Larson said. Golf Team is Aces

CHS Athletic Director Garry Nallenweg introduced Girls Golf Coach Dale Hewitt and his team of champions, one of whom was the IHSAA Girls Golf State Champion for a second consecutive year.

Senior Kelly Grassel broke the 36-hole state record with a score of 137 on Saturday at The Legends Golf Club in Franklin.

Grassel was recognized with her other senior teammates Marissa Kroeger, Nicole Dutz, and Jennifer Kattalia. All their four years saw sectional championships, state final competitions and no defeats.

“That’s pretty incredible,” said Hewitt.

Also recognized were teammates Taryn Trusty, a junior, and freshman Grace Davis.

“I tell everyone we are a team,” said Hewitt. “These are quality individuals and I wouldn’t trade the four years I’ve had with them.”

Grassel was also named recipient of the 2012-13 IHSAA Mental Attitude Award for Girls Golf. She told the board she will attend Michigan State University next year and will join its golf team.

“It’s been so awesome to have so much support from the community,” Grassel said.

Baer said the girls not only played well but conducted themselves in competition as respectful athletes which speak volumes for the Duneland School Corp.

“We know you are good golfers but we know you (compete) in a manner that is professional, and to represent your school like that we are really thankful,” said Baer.

Brummitt to Partner

with Save the Dunes

Also on Monday, Brummitt Elementary School Principal Antonino Cammarata gave a presentation on how his school is ready to take on a whole new community project with the Save the Dunes group for the purpose of learning how watersheds function. The intention of the project, Cammarata said is to inspire community action.

Jennifer Nebe from Save the Dunes will introduce several programs to the school. The classes will conduct most of their activity around the Lake Michigan Watershed.

Starting in mid-October, Cammarata said all classes K-4th grade will study how pollutants get into the water and ways they can be reduced or extracted.

Grades K-2 will be introduced to “Fred the Fish” and see the effects pollutants have on wildlife. Another K-2 program will focus on the role of water cycles in a watershed.

Grades 3 and 4 will be observing water bugs and performing water tests in the watershed for oxygen and pH levels. “Storm Drain Stenciling” for grades 3-4 will post information in areas asking polluters not to dump waste.

“We will have a lot on our plate with this,” Cammarata said.

Looking ahead, Cammarata said in the spring the school will be involved in an Earth Day clean up of the nearby Calumet River and will coordinate an activity with the Northwest Indiana Paddling Association.

Save the Dunes will also be working on a grant for the school that would allow it to purchase water testing kits and set up a permanent model about watersheds inside the school library.

2013 Budget submitted

The 2013 Duneland School Budget will be submitted to the Indiana Department of Local Government Finance as it was advertised to the board. All five members said “yea” to the measure at the end of the meeting.

The cumulative tax rate from the budgets supported by property taxes is expected to be 1.2407 based on a total assessed value of $2,416,992,465, Assistant Superintendent Dave Pruis said.

Giving a breakdown of the budgets, the estimated tax rate for the Debt Service Fund is .3333; School Pension Debt Service Fund is .0833; Transportation Fund is .1625; Bus Replacement Fund is .0333; and the Referendum Fund is .22.

The School’s General Fund will have no county tax rate as it is supported by a state sales tax.

As advertised, the estimate for the General Fund is $38.1 million. The total budget is $61.1 million.

Pruis said this is the fourth year in a row the school district has seen a decrease in its AV. This year’s total is about $11 million less than last year according to figures from the County Auditor’s office.

The board also signed three resolutions on the School Bus Replacement plan for 2013-2024, capital projects for 2013, and for reduction of appropriations.

“Thanks for all your efforts on this. It’s a painstaking task to go through this,” board member Mike Trout told the administration.

Higher enrollment

Ending with some good news, Baer said the state’s Average Daily Membership count taken on Sept. 14 recorded 67 “and a fraction” more students at Duneland this year (the fraction is counting a student who receives partial services).

The state uses the ADM figure in its formula for determining how much money the school district will receive. With 67 more students, Baer said the school should receive about $250,000 more this year.

In the personnel report, Assistant Superintendent Monte Moffett announced the appointment of Rebecca Santhouse as a Title 1 Aide at Bailly Elementary. Resigning is Brooke Hogan, a Title 1 Aide at Bailly.

The Duneland School Board will next meet on Nov. 13.



Posted 10/2/2012