Chesterton Tribune



Duneland Schools partnering with Boys & Girls Club for transportation

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Duneland School officials and the Duneland Boys and Girls Club are working together on a plan to transport students to the club facility for after school activities.

At Wednesday’s School Board meeting, Duneland Schools Superintendent Ginger Bolinger said the intent is to start a route to pick up students from the elementary and intermediate schools for transport to the Boys and Girls Club, located at 521 W. CR 1100 North.

She addressed issues about comments made on Facebook and said that if parents have questions, they are encouraged to contact the School Corporation directly and not by way of social media.

“I think there were a few things said on Facebook. I’m not on Facebook, and many of us are not, so I want to reiterate it’s really nice that if there is an issue, a concern or maybe a suggestion that parents call us or send us an email,” Bolinger said.

Assistant Superintendent of Operations and Human Resources Monte Moffett who has been working with the Club said he expects the details about the partnership will be ready by the next school board meeting on Monday, Aug. 21. Some of the logistics being considered are training for the drivers and maintenance responsibilities. The School Corporation has a bus it is willing to provide, he said.

The deal won’t be ready by the start of the new school year but sometime during the year, Moffett said.

Bolinger said she is pleased to have this partnership. “I think it’s a win-win and an extra option for parents after school,” she said.

Teacher performance grant policy

In business matters, the board agreed 5-0 to adopt two new policies for the Duneland Schools handbook.

The first is to update teacher appreciation grants. Bolinger said the Indiana Department of Education is requiring schools to have a policy on how to distribute grant money it receives from the state based on teacher performance.

One big change, Bolinger said, is the Corporation awards must differ by at least 25 percent between teachers who are rated highly effective and those rated effective, according to the grant guidelines. “We can give more but not less,” she told the board.

Also, the board approved a lengthier version of its policy regarding animals on school property. The policy is 13 pages in length and lays out the regulations for students bringing pets into the school and having service animals in the buildings.

Bolinger told the Chesterton Tribune that the administration is looking over many current policies and seeing if they can be improved.

Road to Life Church lease

The board approved a more formal lease agreement with Road to Life Church which currently uses the CHS gymnasium on Sunday mornings.

Board President Kristin Kroeger said the Corporation performed the lease through its usual Sunday building use forms in the board’s consent agenda but its legal counsel advised that it formalize the agreement.

The Church has leased the space from the high school for a few years already and previously had used the Middle School. Kroeger said the agreement does not signal that the board intends to have long-term renters in school buildings.

“This was meant to be a temporary situation and we are working with the church for them to find more longer-term housing (elsewhere),” Kroeger said.

The board too approved an agreement for its Career and Technical education programs with the Building Trades Corporation for five years, detailing insurance and what control entities have on projects. Board member Brandon Kroft who worked on the language said the agreement furthers the partnership.

“It’s a great program,” agreed board member Mike Trout.

Retirement plans

Also, the board gave unanimous consensus to add a 457b deferred compensation plan for Duneland employees that mirrors its 403b retirement plan.

Duneland’s Chief Financial Officer Lynn Kwilasz said the Corporation offers a variety of retirement plans that employees can participate in such as the Public Employee Retirement Fund for classified staff and 401a plans for teachers.

“We would like to add one more option for our staff. 457b plans serve state and local government entities and other tax-exempt organizations. Schools can be unique because we get to participate in the 457b and the 403b plan. There are not many entities that get to do that so this is an extra savings opportunity we can make available to school employees,” Kwilasz said, who added that the 457b plan would not add any costs for the Corporation.

The retirement plans are reviewed by a committee made up of school representatives and an independent financial advisor, she added.

Financial report

Kwilasz also informed the board that the Duneland Schools annual financial report will be running in today’s edition of the Chesterton Tribune as a legal notice.



Posted 8/10/2017




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