Chesterton Tribune



Cathy Forszt is Duneland Schools' new transportation director

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Duneland Schools has found its next transportation manager following the passing of Jim Bonfield in July.

Catherine “Cathy” Forszt, who has served as the School Corporation’s route coordinator for the last few years, has been acting as interim director of transportation since Bonfield’s death and during Monday’s Duneland School Board meeting was announced as permanent director by Schools’ Superintendent David Pruis.

Forszt has been part of Duneland’s transportation services for the past 18 years, starting as a regular substitute bus driver.

“With a grateful heart,” Forszt gave thanks to the board and the administration.

“I’m a testament to the Corporation’s dedication and commitment to professionalism,” she said. “I’m very glad to be here.”

Field trip drivers pay increased

Also at Monday’s board meeting, Pruis asked the board to consider adjusting the pay for school bus drivers who drive for field trips by increasing it to $15 per hour and .75 cents per mile traveled.

The last time an increase for field trip costs were approved was in 2001 at $10 per hour and .50 cents per mile, Pruis said, and it’s well known that fuel costs have gone up in the past 15 years.

Board member Kristin Kroeger asked if this recommendation would cover the costs for the trips. Forszt replied that it would be “close to the actual costs.” For the first hour the driver gets paid more and eventually the rate goes down to a minimum of $15 an hour.

But Kroeger asked out loud “why don’t we just pay to cover the costs? Let’s protect our school district and pay what it costs.”

Board member John Marshall said it makes sense to him to have the costs calculated rather than having a flat rate.

The board agreed unanimously on a motion to pay drivers the actual cost of the trip and also to accept the recommendation to increase the mileage pay to .75 cents per mile.

Hires, resignations

In Duneland’s latest personnel report were the latest appointments and resignations.

Connie Crowley has been hired as secretary for Duneland’s instructional materials center.

Maria Torres will be working as a kitchen helper. Dale Heuer will work as a custodian.

Aide hires include Kelley O’Connor as a Title 1 Aide at Brummitt Elementary, Kristen Janowiak as an instructional aide at Bailly Elementary, Remy Lewis as a utility aide at CHS, Becky Hull as an instructional aide at Jackson Elementary, Suzanee Willems as a regular bus aide.

Also at CHS, Thomas Schmidt will be involved with alternative class placement, Jennifer Jendrzejczyk will coach intramural basketball and Delene McGowan will serve as a secretary.

Resigning are Brummitt Title 1 Aide Shannon Loney, Yost Elementary Title 1 aide Diane Brechner and bus drivers Sharon Miller and Lisa Ragon.


Meanwhile, Pruis lauded Brummitt Elementary for participating in the National Road Runners Club event on Friday, Sept. 18, that charted 175 miles run or walked by students and staff around the campus at Brummitt. Organized by 4th Grade teacher Mike Stiles, the event was to promote physical activity and healthy living in the community.

He also applauded Liberty Elementary School’s promotion of pediatric cancer awareness month in September. The school participated in activities such as a super hero day, coin collection and a bake sale and raised $2,505 in a week’s time.

The proceeds will be evenly split between Rusty’s Hope and the Northwest Indiana Cancer Kids Foundation, Pruis said.

Pruis named a plethora of student groups and teams that have performed well in the last couple of days -- the Trojan Guard is advancing to the state finals later this month in the ISSMA competitions, the CHS Girls Golf team won the Duneland Athletic Conference and finished third at state, the CHS Girls and Boys Soccer teams won Sectionals and so did the CHS Boys Tennis team.

Duneland School Board President Ayres said he is grateful to everyone involved in creating the display cases at Entrance 31 at CHS honoring the 125th anniversary of the school. The costs were covered primarily by donations from the families of Mox Ruge and Mike Harris. The Westchester Township History Museum is going to add to the three displays which will be rotated, Ayres said.

“It’s going to be very nice,” he said.



Posted 10/13/2015




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