Chesterton Tribune



Ralph Ayres to lead Duneland School Board in 2014

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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. John Forchetti.

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 Harbor RDC.

Personnel report

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 Bailly Elementary.

Linda Strange has been hired as a custodian for Duneland Schools. Resigning is Duneland Custodian Bonnie Zosso.

Next meeting

The board decided to continue meeting the first Monday of the month as regularly as possible and will meet next on Feb. 3.



Posted 1/9/2014