The Duneland School
Board voted unanimously last night to appoint Tom Schnabel to fulfill the
remaining term of the vacant Jackson Township Board seat.
applied for the position and were interviewed at a public meeting Tuesday
after Kristin Kroeger resigned from the Jackson Township seat.
Schnabel is a
recently retired long-time Duneland teacher. In his interview, he said he
began teaching at Duneland in 1985, and he thinks its valuable to have
someone who has taught extensively at Duneland on the Board.
Brandon Kroft said the decision was tough and encouraged the other
applicants to stay involved. “We had six extraordinary people apply. This
decision was really difficult,” Kroft said.
Township seat, as well as an At-large seat on the Board, will be up for
election in the general election this year. School Board officers are
nonpartisan. Candidates for school board must complete a petition of
nomination and may file for candidacy starting Wednesday, July 22.
In other appointing
business, Kroft was appointed the School Board representative for the Porter
The Board also
voted unanimously to approve a user agreement for Town of Chesterton
utilities to service Liberty Intermediate and Elementary schools.
Superintendent Dr. Chip Pettit said the move will save taxpayer money over
The Liberty campus
was previously served by the Damon Run Conservancy District, but some Damon
Run customers are jumping ship following the planned sale of Damon Run’s
utilities infrastructure to Valparaiso City Utilities. Duneland is the
latest--the Board gave a 180-day notice of termination of its contract with
Damon Run in December.
At the December
special meeting, Kroft said switching to Chesterton utilities will save
$1,400 in the first year, and next year, after Chesterton retires some bonds
used to expand service to Fox Chase Farms, the savings will increase to
$2,700 annually, so the switch will save an approximate total of $95,000
The Board also
approved bids for several improvement projects.
will provide a district-wide security camera system upgrade for $762,288.
Tri-Electronics was the third lowest out of five bidders; however, the
lowest bidder did not account for all bid specs and the second lowest bidder
was determined not to be responsive and responsible per Duneland Schools
policy, according to Assistant Superintendent Robert McDermott.
will also complete an infrastructure wiring project for $104,283, and Circle
R. Mechanical will install a new HVAC chiller at Westchester Intermediate
School for $551,500. Board member John Marshal abstained from the votes on
all three projects.
Pettit welcomed new
School Resource Officer Mike Manion, who replaced retiring Officer Randy
Komicarsik at the Middle School recently.
Duneland is celebrating National School Counseling Week to highlight the
impact counselors can have in students’ lives. “We thank our counselors for
doing a great job,” Pettit said.
School is the latest Duneland school to be recognized as a Common Sense
School for its effort in cultivating digital citizenship among students,