Chesterton Tribune



Duneland School Board welcomes Malasto and Pol

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Duneland Schools Interim Superintendent Judith Malasto got to work, and Alayna Lightfoot Pol took the oath of office at the Duneland School Board meeting last night.

Pol was sworn in by Duneland legal counsel Charles Parkinson. The Board is stronger with her, according to member John Marshall. “We’re very excited to have Alayna join our Board.”

Malasto is excited to get to work in her new position. “It’s imperative for me that you understand how invested I am in this community,” Malasto said. “Duneland is my home both professionally and personally.”

One of Malasto’s first acts as Interim Superintendent was to recommend an update to policy 5416, pertaining to graduation requirements. The policy was under review anyway due to new state and federal graduation requirements, but Malasto said there has been a change to the requirements for participating in commencement activities. Now, students who are within two credits of graduating can earn the right to walk with their graduating class if they enroll in summer school.

Malasto, who before being named Interim Superintendent was serving as the Director of Secondary Learning and Performance within Duneland’s administration, said the administration tried the idea out informally last year and has now put it in writing. “We found that by putting that in place, we actually capture more students for graduation,” she said.

The Board approved the update to policy 5416 and approved the CHS course description guide. The guide is reviewed and approved every year, but Malasto said it has a few additions. There is a new Project Lead the Way class: Principals of Engineering, a guitar class is replacing Theory of Piano, and a Level 1 American Sign Language class is now available. Sign Language will count as a World Language credit.

Malasto, in her end-of-meeting comments, noted Jan. 1 was the 50th anniversary of the incorporation of Duneland Schools. She encouraged members of the community to view some interesting materials Duneland Public Relations Director Bridget Martinson has made available online, including documents from the first Duneland School Board meeting in 1969.

Malasto also said that Kindergarten roundup is fast approaching. Children must be turning five by August to be enrolled in Kindergarten.

Staff Recognition/Personnel Report

The Board recognized CHS Health/Physical Education Teacher David Milligan, who earned the Porter County Substance Abuse Council Community Recognition Award from the Porter County Community Foundation.

Emily Wilt, media specialist at CHS, was also recognized for winning a photo/video contest sponsored by the Indiana Library Federation (ILF). ILF will use Wilt’s video as a model for faculty in other libraries, and she was awarded $100 to use for the CHS Media Center.

The Board made three personnel moves, all appointments, last night. The Board appointed three wrestling coaches at CHS. Alex Boatright was appointed varsity assistant wrestling coach. Brian Bolin was appointed freshman wrestling coach. Joe Nuzzo was appointed assistant freshman wrestling coach.

Officers and Appointments

The Board reorganized, electing Brandon Kroft President, Kristin Kroeger Vice-president and retaining Ron Stone as Secretary. The Board also appointed liaisons and delegates. Kroeger will sit on the Porter Redevelopment Commission, Marshall will sit on the Chesterton RDC, and Stone will remain on the Burns Harbor RDC. Harris, Welsh, and Lukmann will remain Duneland Schools’ legal counsel and Dr. Molina will remain the Corporation Physician.

Kroft commented that Harris, Welsh, and Lukmann has represented the Duneland Schools for years, and their rates “are stagnant and very favorable in the marketplace.”

The Board reappointed Lynn Kwilasz as Corporation Treasurer and Mary Jo Brust as Deputy Treasurer, each with bonds of $100,000Ńthe same amount they were bonded in 2018.

The Board’s compensation will also remain the sameŃa $2,000 per year stipend plus $112 per diem for regular meetings and $62 per special executive session.

The Board will continue to meet on the first Monday of the month at 6 p.m. at the Administration Center, with the exception of September, where the first Monday falls on Labor Day. The September 2019 Board meeting will be Sept. 9.

Funds Transfers

The Board passed two resolutions transferring funds. One was to transfer the remaining balance of the Pension Debt Service fund to the Debt Service fund. Kwilasz explained, “We have paid our pension bonds in their entirety. There was a small balance of about $27,000 left, so we’re asking for authorization to transfer that because that money was raised with the idea that it repays debt. Since it was an excess, we would put it toward our current debt.”

The other resolution was to transfer approximately $6.7 million from the former general fund to the operations fund to comply with new state mandated budget requirements. Per new state legislation, some money that was previously kept in the general fund is now earmarked for placement in the operations fund depending on whether or not the funds directly impact students.

Board of Finance

The Board adjourned the regular meeting and reconvened for a Board of Finance meeting. They first elected the same officers as the Board, then heard a presentation on Duneland’s investments from Kwilasz.

According to Kwilasz’s report, Duneland earned a total of $419,696.40 in interest on its investments in 2018. She said Duneland’s investments are at three institutions: Centier, US Bank’s Hoosier Fund, and Lake City Bank. Kwilasz said Lake City Bank is mainly a holding repository for funds when they are between Certificate Deposit (CD) accounts.

Kwilasz said the Corporation may invest in CDs with a maximum of a 24-month term. “In 2018, we had two that matured during the year, earning us about $90,000 in interest, and reinvested those.” Kwilasz said. “We now have a 24 month and a 12 and 9-month, all of which are coming up in 2019.”


Posted 1/8/2019




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