Chesterton Tribune



School board ready for hospital abatement to be resolved

Back To Front Page


Time marches on in the deliberations between the Porter County Council and Porter Regional Hospital over the ten-year tax abatement but Duneland School Board Vice-President Kristin Kroeger took a moment during Monday’s board meeting to urge both sides to come to terms as soon as possible.

Kroeger said that in order to budget for the Duneland Schools’ future, it is important to have an accurate projection of how much tax revenue the school will receive. The hospital is located in the school district at the northwest corner of Ind. 49 and U.S. 6 in Liberty Twp.

The DSC’s capital projects budget, transportation budgets, debt service and bus replacement funds are all supported by local property tax.

“It’s important to get it resolved quickly for us as a school corporation,” she said.

The County Council has taken up the issue several times this year, board president Ralph Ayres said, questioning what year the abatement was supposed to begin and what parts of the hospital’s property is to fall under it. The bigger question seems to be what the assessed value of the hospital is to be, he said.

Porter has appealed both its 2012 and 2013 assessed values to the Indiana Board of Tax Review and has argued its value should be about $40 million based on the models used in the Indiana Assessment Manual. On the other hand, the Porter County Assessor and the Property Tax Assessment Board of Appeals have valued the hospital property at $244.5 million.

County Council attorney Scott McClure at the Council meeting two weeks ago said Assessor Jon Snyder looks to further negotiate the value with a new tax attorney representing the hospital.

Ayres backed Kroeger’s comments saying he “hopes there is a quick resolution” and that the two sides “come to a solution sooner rather than later.”


In other matters, the board approved accepting $27,876 in donations made from December to May. That includes a contribution of $14,000 made by the Bailly Elementary PTO last month that will go to technology projects for each classroom.

An anonymous donation of $5,000 was accepted this past week for sound and audio equipment upgrades inside the CHS auditorium.

Next, a resolution was adopted by the board that would give Duneland Superintendent of Schools Dave Pruis the authority to sign contracts from the Department of Education when necessary to fund placement of students in community supported services and residential facilities. Pruis said the measure will enhance “efficiency and expediency.”

Superintendent report

In his comments portion of the meeting, Pruis gave kudos to the CMS teams who placed at the Lake-Porter Academic Conference on April 16. The 6th and 8th grade teams placed first while 7th placed second. CMS was the overall champion, he said.

Other congrats went out to WDSO on its 24th annual radio-thon last week.

The CHS Super Mileage Challenge Club placed first in its stock category at the annual competition held at Lucas Oil Raceway Park in Indianapolis.

Also, Pruis commended the staff of the CHS Sandscript on being named a 1st place publication by the American Scholastic Press Association and one of the top 35 high school news publications in the nation.

Pruis mentioned Duneland is in the middle of its Teacher Appreciation Week, May 5-9. Wednesday is a special day honoring school nurses.

“Everyone has a favorite teacher. We all are who we are because of them. We appreciate all that they do,” he said.

Attendance scores well

Assistant Superintendent of Instruction Jim Goetz remarked on how well attendance has held up at Duneland Schools this past year which was reflected in the Annual Performance Report.

Overall attendance at the elementary schools was 98 percent while at intermediate schools attendance was 96 percent, at the middle school 95.9 percent and at the high school 94.9 percent.

“It’s outstanding. I’d like to put a challenge out to our parents to get even better than that --100 percent. The kids can’t learn unless they’re in school,” Goetz said.

Another highlight is that 84 percent of students completing high school in Duneland go off to college, which is well above the state average, he said.

Personnel Report

Meanwhile, Assistant Superintendent of Human Relations and Operations Monte Moffett announced a few additional teacher retirements this school year. Those include 3rd Grade Brummitt teacher M. Jane Shuger who started teaching at Duneland in 1972 as one of the original teachers when Brummitt first opened its doors, CHS English teacher Pat Johnson who started teaching at Duneland in 1974 and served as English department chair for the past 14 years, and CMS Social Studies teacher Dan Garwood who started teaching at Duneland in 1973.

Moffett said combining the years of all retiring teachers, this year will see the departure of 492 years of teaching experience.

Other retirements include technology technician Doug Wells, bus driver Joyce Mottinger, and custodians Pat Jones and Duane Szymanski.

In appointments, Colleen Bowen will be head custodian at Brummit Elementary.

Appointed to an assistant coaching position at CHS is Mark Peterson for Boys’ Track. Volunteer coaching positions include Zack Rochowiak for JV Baseball and Adam Martin who will be an assistant coach for track.

Duneland custodians moving from probation to permanent include Linda Strange, Daniell Cromwell and Janette Pinnell, as well as Kyle Jimenez in the maintenance department.

Resigning are Assistant CMS Cross Country Coach Cara Ellerthorpe, High Ability Aide Sara Binder, and Yost 3rd grade teacher Erin Bozetarnik.

Art Center Open House

Ayres plugged the opening reception for the Chesterton High School Art Exhibit at the Chesterton Art Center, 115 S. 4th St. which will be held Tuesday night.

The event showcases the many “great works” by the students, he said, and runs from 6 to 7:30 p.m.



Posted 5/6/2014