Chesterton Tribune


Duneland 2012-2013 enrollment grows close to 6,000 students

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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.

Well issues resolved

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 year.

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 services.

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 to Bailly.

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.

CMS coaching

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 Country.

Posted 8/28/2012