Finances, use of school administrators' time and the CAPE Grant were topics of discussion when Schools Superintendent William Schad recommended the hiring of a new principal at the alternative school, Cumberland Academy.
Maryann Reed was the principal from the time the Academy was founded through the past school year. She was part-time and received a $4,000 per year stipend.
When she retired, the search began for a new principal, one who would have fewer other duties and have more time to spend running the alternative school, said Schad during the Clay Community Schools Corp. Board of Trustees meeting at North Clay Middle School on Thursday night.
"Almost by acclamation" Lisa Showalter, the Clay City Jr. High School assistant principal, was chosen to be the new director, Schad said.
Nine people applied, six were interviewed for the position.
The board approved Showalter 4-3 with Jim Guy, Joseph Thomas and Steve Grigsby voting no.
When the board was asked to vote on Showalter's appointment, no one doubted she would do a good job, but the wisdom of giving her a 260-day contract was doubted by board members Grigsby and Thomas.
Grigsby had hoped the appointment would be put off until it could be discussed in the August budget meeting.
Grigsby thought the position could be filled by expanding the duties of one of the assistant principals at North Clay Middle School or Northview High School.
He pointed out that the current $4,000 stipend paid Reed would cost nearly $100,000, counting benefits and salary, if Showalter was given a 260-day salary.
Schad resp-onded, "You get what you pay for. Maryann was given so much on her plate she couldn't do the job" of being a full-time principal at the alternative school.
"I've heard nothing but complaints about the alternative school since I came here," Schad said. "The staff was crying for direction," but no one had the time to give them adequate leadership.
Thomas asked how Showalter will be paid once the CAPE Grant expires.
He pointed out that teacher positions and teacher aide positions have been eliminated due to budget problems and expanding an administrative position at Cumberland Academy would not put more teachers in the classrooms.
Thomas was also concerned that the board will have to pay the alternative school principal's salary out of the General Fund when the CAPE Grant funding ends; to which Schad replied, the position may have to once again become part time after the CAPE grant expires, "But, let's make hay while the sun shines."
Board member Terry Barr said, "The CAPE Grant is not set up to save our General Fund."
When Schad said the corporation's schools need more administrators, not fewer, Grigsby replied, "You just recommended the Northview principal be allowed to be gone 20 percent of his time."
In that action, the board had voted unanimously to approve Ken Wallace's request to be allowed to attend Indiana State University's doctorate program each Wednesday for a year, provided he make up the days he spends at ISU and pays for the program himself.
Grigsby had opposed that action on the basis of finances.
Two other NHS principals, Kirk Freeman and Lynn Romas, had been allowed to go through the ISU program in the past.
In a vote related to the alternative school action, the board voted 7-0 to pay Reed's latest $4,000 stipend. Schad had refused to pay it, thinking the stipend should be a one-time payment made for extra work.
The board agreed 6-1 (Len Fischer voting no) it was their intention to pay Reed the $4,000 stipend each year she worked as the Cumberland Academy director.
The stipend was approved beginning with the 2002-03 school year at the Sept. 12, 2002, school board meeting, according to a tape transcript given to board members before Thursday's meeting.