The Duneland School
Board heard the preliminary results of a district-wide facilities assessment
at its meeting yesterday.
The purpose of the
study is to determine what major projects the Board should expect to budget
for, other than general maintenance, in the coming years. Director of
Support Services Greg Lindy said Tria Architecture has identified areas for
improvement at Chesterton High School, Liberty Intermediate, Bailly
Elementary, Yost Elementary, and the transportation center on Ind. 49.
At CHS, Heating,
Ventiliation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) is the focus. Tria recommends
replacing all three A/C chillers because they are near end of life and one
is non-operational. Replacing them all at once is ideal, and the work would
have to start soon for the units to be ready for next year’s hot weather.
Lindy said the new system would be energy efficient, and NIPSCO often helps
DSC with the cost of install and purchase for such systems.
At LIS, the
vertical unit airflow and exhaust system could be improved, and there could
be work done on window penetrations in the exterior walls, as well as
lighting, flooring, and painting inside. Lindy said the issue with the
vertical airflow unit is that the last time the system was replaced, the
infrastructure for air flow wasn’t, and the two systems don’t work together
for optimal flow.
office needs to be reconfigured, and the nurse’s area made ADA-compliant,
and the school needs HVAC improvements and new lighting, flooring, and
painted walls in some rooms and halls. Yost needs a full replacement of its
HVAC and chemical systems and new flooring and painting in some halls and
classrooms. Lindy said there are big potential energy savings at Yost, since
Yost is the last DSC building that is on a pneumatic control system.
transportation depot needs more parking for bus drivers, and Tria recommends
removing underground fuel tanks and replacing them with above-ground units.
Lindy said parking has been an issue for a while, and it’s a matter of
driver safety. As for the fuel tanks, Lindy said the underground tanks are
very old, and he likes to be proactive about big, potentially inconvenient
projects. He said its easier to diagnose problems with above ground tanks,
the catch is DSC won’t know if the removal of the underground tanks requires
soil remediation until the work starts.
business, the Board approved Duneland CFO Lynn Kwilasz to advertise the
preliminary capital projects and bus replacements plans, 2020 budget, and
tax rates and levies. That information will be available on the Department
of Local Government Finance’s public access gateway online by Sept. 12. The
Board will hold a public hearing on the budget at its Sept. 23 meeting and
is expected to approve the 2020 budget and associated plans Oct. 7.
The goal of the
facilities assessment is to facilitate master planning for needed
improvements. Lindy said the main thing to keep in mind with the projects
recommended by Tria is that the results are just preliminary so far.
Prioritizing and pricing them will come later.
The Board approved
a resolution to acknowledge INPRS retirement savings. Kwilasz reported DSC
saved approximately $348,900 following the Indiana General Assembly’s $150
million allocation to teacher retirement within the Indiana Public
Retirement System (INPRS). The allocation made way for a two-percent
reduction in public schools’ required contribution to INPRS, with the intent
that schools can use the savings for general expenses, including teacher and
certified staff salaries.
Kwilasz said the
Legislature did not set limits on how schools spend the savings, but DSC
intends to use it for salaries, so the $348,900 is part of the pool of money
DSC has to work with as it budgets for 2020 and negotiates its new contract
with the Duneland Teacher’s Association.
Kwilasz said the
Legislature intends the reduction in schools’ contributions to be a
permanent change, though the rate has historically changed at times as the
INPRS Board gathers and reviews actuarial data.
In other business,
the Board approved a round of policy updates on first reading. Board
President Brandon Kroft said the changes in each of 13 policies were minor
and amounted to updating a word or two here and there.
The Board approved
a nickel increase in adult breakfast prices. The increase was necessary for
DSC to qualify for state reimbursement. There will be no impact to students
lunch or breakfast prices.
The Board also
approved classified and administrative compensation guidelines and travel
stipends. The guidelines and stipends are not changing from last year.
Board member Ron
Stone gave a shout out to Custodian Marcie Brady, who recently gave his
daughter money to get into a soccer game on a day that she forgot to bring
money for a ticket. Stone said Brady has since been paid back, but he just
thought it was “so awesome” that she ran to a student’s aid.
Superintendent Chip Pettit thanked the Duneland Chamber of Commerce for its
support of the CHS Dunes Day field trip to the Dunes National Park next
week. Pettit said the large field trip, an attempt to set a Guinness World
Record, will have approximately 2,000 DSC students engaged in all types of