He was once a CHS social studies teacher and now Ralph Ayres has assumed the
role of president of the Duneland School Board.
In a slate proposed by member John Marshall, which passed unanimously, Ayres
was voted president, Kristen Kroger vice-president, and Ron Stone secretary.
Ayres gave departing president Mike Trout a heartfelt sendoff, presenting
him with a plaque commemorating his efforts during what Ayres referred to as
“an interesting year” requiring many extra hours on his part.
“On behalf of the board of trustees, thanks for your work,” Ayres said
speaking for the parents, students and community.
Trout responded humbly. “It’s always an honor to do this job. I’m looking
forward to having Ralph as our new president,” he said.
The board continued to reorganize for 2014 which took up most of Wednesday’s
brief meeting. It next agreed to Duneland Schools Superintendent Dave Pruis’
recommendation to appoint Chief Financial Officer Lynn Kwilasz as
corporation treasurer and Business Manager Mary Jo Brust as deputy
treasurer. Bond coverage of $100,000 was established for both positions.
A unanimous vote was made to keep board member’s annual salaries at the same
level they have been for a number of years now -- $2,000. Each member will
also receive a per diem of $112 for each regular board meeting and $62 for
each special or executive meeting.
Marshall was picked by his colleagues to continue as the board’s liaison and
delegate for the Indiana School Board Association.
Also, the law firm Harris, Welsh & Lukmann, of Chesterton, will continue to
be Duneland’s legal advisor, They have been the school counsel for more than
45 years. The board also retained the Corporation’s longtime physician Dr.
Ayres recessed the board meeting to conduct the annual board of finance
meeting to review corporation bank accounts and investments. Kwilasz said
that during 2013 Duneland made about $20,000 in interest, only a fraction of
the figures seen over a decade ago, sometimes close to $250K.
Kwilasz said the board of finance can explore a host of banking options if
it wishes to make changes or consolidate funds.
In other business, the board appointed its representatives to local
Redevelopment Commissions for the Duneland tri-town RDCs. Trout will serve
on the Chesterton RDC, Marshall on the Porter RDC, and Ayres on the Burns
In other matters, the board approved the recent personnel report by
Assistant Superintendent of Operations and Human Relations Monte Moffett.
Justin Martinson has been appointed as a remediation aide for Liberty
Elementary. Emily Allmon will begin later this month as a Title 1 aide for
Linda Strange has been hired as a custodian for Duneland Schools. Resigning
is Duneland Custodian Bonnie Zosso.
The board decided to continue meeting the first Monday of the month as
regularly as possible and will meet next on Feb. 3.