Clay Community Schools Board of Trustees have a clear policy regarding public requests to address the board.
"Mrs. (Terry) Barr was kind enough to send me a copy of Policy 1670. It states patrons must sign in at the door... limit their presentation to five minutes... no dialogue between patrons and board members may occur... the board president is responsible for orderly conduct and shall rule on appropriateness of the subject matter...the board has the final decision in determining the appropriateness of all such rulings," Jon Hull, board president said.
David Wise was the first patron to take the podium. He said he wanted to clarify something that was said at last month's meeting that had weighed heavily on his mind.
"Mr. (Steve) Grigsby had said that because of my lawsuit against the board, I had cost the taxpayers $23,000. I take exception to that unfair and inaccurate statement," he said.
Wise asked if anyone knew that Thomas Belcher, an attorney for Indiana Insurance Company that insures the school corporation, was also involved in representing the board for the lawsuit. He said if the board had contacted the insurance company before hiring the law firm of Bose, McKinney and Evans, the company might have picked up the court costs.
Jennifer Moore was the next patron to address the board and audience.
"Regarding the attorney bill from Bose, McKinney and Evans from May about the termination of the superintendent's contract, I think Mr. (Buren) Jones asked Mr. Hull if he wanted the bill sent to him not as a cover-up but because in his professional opinion, the three board members present at the meeting should be responsible for payment of the bill and not the school corporation," she said.
Hull responded and said he just didn't want to be the middle man, plain and simple, and had no hidden motive.
Barr asked for another bill from Bose, McKinney and Evans to be removed from the list of approved claims to be discussed separately. She said approximately $800 was billed to the corporation for interpretation of the judge's decision of the Wise lawsuit, preparation of news media statements and 6.1 hours for a trip to a school board meeting to read the judge's ruling on the Wise lawsuit. She questioned the other board members if they had requested the attorney's trip. None of them remembered approving such an expense.
Board members voted 5-1-1 to approve paying the bill. Barr voted against and Ted Jackson abstained.
In other board news:
-Transportation bids were considered. Two fuel bids were rejected and the board voted to re-open the fuel bid. Only one tire bid was submitted. The board voted to approve the tire bid from Bedwell Tires. A bid for the purchase of five buses, at a cost of $353,022, was approved.
-The board approved a bill for about $4,000 to fix the boiler at Forest Park. Thomas Reberger, director of building and grounds, said the corporation has already put more money into boiler repair than it would cost to replace it. "We've already reached the point of diminishing return," he said.
-The board approved goals for 2003, directed by the administrative staff.
-Superintendent Thomas Rohr reported the corporation would be a quarter of a million dollars short for 2003. It was not reported how the corporation would handle the matter.