Chesterton Tribune

 

 

Tom Schnabel new Jackson Township School Board member

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By LILY REX

The Duneland School Board voted unanimously last night to appoint Tom Schnabel to fulfill the remaining term of the vacant Jackson Township Board seat.

Six candidates 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.

Board President 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.

The Jackson 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 Redevelopment Commission.

Liberty Schools Utilities

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 time.

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 through 2030.

Other Approvals

The Board also approved bids for several improvement projects.

Tri-Electronics 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.

Tri-Electronics 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.

Superintendent’s Comments

Pettit welcomed new School Resource Officer Mike Manion, who replaced retiring Officer Randy Komicarsik at the Middle School recently.

Pettit said 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.

Bailley Elementary School is the latest Duneland school to be recognized as a Common Sense School for its effort in cultivating digital citizenship among students, Pettit added.

 

Posted 2/7/2020

 

 
 
 

 

 

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