Chesterton Tribune



Duneland Schools busy with summer projects; board approves new hires and salaries

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While Duneland students are enjoying their summer break, the Support Services and Maintenance staff are in their busy season, racing against time to complete projects before the 2013-14 school year starts up next month.

“We’ve got a lot of things going on across the corporation,” Support Services Director Greg Lindy told the school board at its meeting Monday. The projects’ overall goal is to provide a good work environment for the faculty and students, he said.

Lindy said crews will wrap up the roof restoration project at Liberty Intermediate School in time which has been said to be Duneland’s “biggest problem roof.”

Next, the “wires are being pulled as we speak” in installing the new buzzer security systems at Liberty Intermediate, Westchester Intermediate and at Yost Elementary, Lindy said.

Renovations are moving along for Chesterton Middle School’s cafeteria. The new drywall has been put up, Lindy said, and a purchase order for the new exhaust hood ventilation system has been issued.

The emergency drive next to the football stadium for ambulance use has been completed with a new gate which will block regular traffic. Next the support staff will attempt to finish the landscaping along the drive before the start of football season, Lindy said.

Staff will also prioritize which parking lot restoration projects they hope to accomplish this summer. Outdoors they will also undertake various playground repairs, power washings and paintings on buildings in need of a fresh look.

As for an update on the new Health and Wellness center for Duneland staff at the former Instructional Materials Center on Fifth Street, Lindy said the flooring has been cut and the plumbing and ceiling work have been finished up. Next, the construction crew will start putting in insulation and a security system.

“It’s moving right along. They’ve picked up the pace pretty well,” Lindy said.

Director of Transportation Jim Bonfield said Duneland’s fleet of 87 buses passed the Indiana State Police’s inspection this past month and the new routing coordinator has done a good job mapping bus routes for next year.

“It’s summer but things are busy,” Schools Superintendent Dave Pruis told the board.

In a related matter, the board agreed on a resolution declaring the need for emergency funds out of the DSC’s capital projects fund for the Wellness Center renovation work. The amount, $39,000, will cover extra roof repairs including the installation of a new gutter.

Superintendent contracts

In other action, the board approved new contracts and salaries for the two assistant superintendent positions which were named at the last board meeting.

Monte Moffett will be Assistant Superintendent of Operations and Human Relations at an annual salary of $112,000. Jim Goetz will be Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction with an annual salary of $110,000.

Pruis said that the salaries are “slight increases” after the board and administrators “restructured” the job positions with the superintendent of operations handling more personnel duties and the superintendent of instruction focusing on programming.

Both contracts will be posted on the DSC website, Pruis said.

Meanwhile, the board favored a recommendation by Pruis to name its new corporation treasurer and deputy treasurer. Lynn Kwilasz, the new chief financial officer for Duneland. She will act as Treasurer, succeeding former business manager Bonnie Gaston who retired this year.

Mary Jo Brust, who has worked in the business office for a few years as assistant business manager, will act as DSC’s deputy treasurer.

More personnel matters

As far as hires go, Judith Malasto has been appointed as the new assistant principal for Chesterton High School as Jeff Van Drie moves up to principal. Malasto worked before as a teacher at CHS and also in LaPorte before her most recent role as curriculum coordinator for East Porter County Schools. She is a Ball State graduate and a Chesterton resident.

John Thanos, a CHS and Purdue University graduate, will take over for former teacher Bill Caulton as an English teacher at CHS and advisor for the school yearbook. He will also be one of the coaches for football.

Both Thanos and Malasto were nostalgic at the chance of working at Duneland.

“Duneland has been a big part of my life. I’ve always wanted to come back,” said Thanos.

“It’s nice to be back, it really is,” echoed Malasto.

Also coming to Duneland are Abigail Genig who will teach English at CMS and previously taught at St. John Lutheran School in Wheaton, Ill. and Southgate Adult and Community School in Southgate, Mich.

Toni Biancardi will be the attendance secretary for CMS. Gregg Burns has been hired as the head custodian at Yost and Matthew Biggs will be the new groundsman.

Resigning are CHS Spanish teacher Julia Clark, CMS instructional aide Bill Sigler and Bailly Elementary nurse Marion Danko.

Budget schedule takes shape

Also, the board scheduled its time table for its upcoming annual budget work.

A preliminary review of Duneland’s 2014 will be given at the board’s next meeting on Monday, Aug. 12. Later that month, the board will meet on Monday, Aug. 26, where they will agree on publishing the budget followed by advertisements in the local paper as legal notices. A regular board meeting will be held on Sept. 9 and then a special meeting exclusively for the public hearing on the budget will be held Wednesday, Sept. 25.

The budget will be approved at a board meeting soon after. The state requires schools to submit their budgets by Nov. 1.

Pop Warner pulled

Monday’s board agenda included a request from Chesterton Pop Warner regarding use of a portion of DSC’s 25-acre parcel near the Westport Community Center in Burns Harbor.

Pruis said representatives of Pop Warner phoned him earlier Monday and requested to be taken off the agenda. He said he suspects the group is currently exploring its options with the Town of Burns Harbor.


Posted 7/16/2013