matters, the board agreed 5-0 to adopt two new policies for the Duneland
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
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
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
The board approved
a more formal lease agreement with Road to Life Church which currently uses
the CHS gymnasium on Sunday mornings.
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.
Also, the board
gave unanimous consensus to add a 457b deferred compensation plan for
Duneland employees that mirrors its 403b retirement plan.
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.
plans are reviewed by a committee made up of school representatives and an
independent financial advisor, she added.
informed the board that the Duneland Schools annual financial report will be
running in today’s edition of the Chesterton Tribune as a legal