Chesterton Tribune



School Board approves superintendent contract; wellness center bids sought again

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In a matter of moments, the Duneland School Board cleared the way Wednesday for its current Assistant Superintendent of Operations and Human Relations Dave Pruis to become the next Superintendent of Schools.

At a special meeting Wednesday evening, all five board members voted unanimously for Pruis’ contract, which will start on July 1 this year and end on June 30, 2016, according to the terms.

The contract has not changed since its public hearing on April 4. Pruis’ annual salary will be $145,000, up more than $16,000 from the current superintendent’s salary.

A copy of the contract can be found in the legal notices of the Chesterton Tribune on Monday, March 25.

Pruis, will be taking over for Dirk Baer who is retiring on June 30 after serving 26 years at Duneland Schools, 11 of those as schools superintendent. Baer was also the principal at Chesterton High School for six years.

Pruis has been a DSC assistant superintendent since 2003 and previously held school superintendent posts at Hamilton Community Schools near Indianapolis and Union-North United School Corporation in Lakeville.

Wellness center rebid

In another matter, the board voted to authorize issuing a second Request for Proposals for the renovation of the former Instructional Materials Center building on Fifth Street into a health and wellness center for its faculty, staff and employees.

The board on April 4 voted to reject bids that came in for a previous RFP during the first few weeks of March because the cost estimates far exceeded their expectations.

Pruis then searched for properties available for rent that would have the potential to be developed as the DSC Health and Wellness Center. He did find two such properties but the larger space in one would have cost in the five figure range and the property next to it was a lot smaller in terms of size.

Baer said there are enough funds “sitting” in the schools’ rainy day funds that could pay the extra costs for renovating the IMC building if the board would like to reconsider.

Board President Mike Trout said it would seem logical to him “to look at a piece of property we already have” rather than paying rent.

The upgrades would be significant, Pruis said, such making the restrooms workable and handicapped accessible.

The bids that came back on individual items were “all over the place,” he said, such as painting that ranged from $3,000 to $12,000.

Feeling they have already put a lot of time and effort into the project, Trout and the other board members agreed to rebid the project with in hopes they will receive bids lower than last time. They will also call on architect Bob Gerometta for suggestions.

“We’re committed. We need to get a facility that our employees can use,” Trout said.

Pruis said the build out time will be 45 to 60 days. The administration does not have a completion date they are aiming for, only that it be done properly, Pruis said.

No phones policy

Also, the board approved a first reading of an updated policy on the use of personal communication devices.

PCDs such as “computers, tablets (e.g., iPads and similar devices), electronic readers (e.g., Kindles and similar devices), mobile/cellular telephones, smartphones (e.g., BlackBerry, iPhone, Android devices, Windows Mobile devices, etc.) and/or other web-enabled devices of any type” are not to be used by students during school hours and during certain after school activities, the new policy states.

Students can use PCDs while riding the bus to and from school at the discretion of the bus driver.

Students are not allowed to take pictures or video on the PCDs without proper consent. If they do, the policy states that they will have their PCD confiscated and may be asked to delete the content.

Violators will be given a warning or have their PCD confiscated by school administrators. The device will then be turned over to the student’s parent or guardian once the student agrees to any disciplinary actions that may be imposed.

CHS principal Jim Goetz said some students will try to challenge the policy but he expects most will follow it. Students can use their devices once the school day is over and the “last bell rings,” he said.

The new policy can go into effect after the board approves it on a second reading at the May 6 meeting.


Posted 4/25/2013