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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Board accepts master contract

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Forrest Buell
In a 5-0-1 vote, the Clay Community School Board of Trustees voted to accept the master contract and employee salary and fringe benefits for all administrative, certified and non-certified staff and bus drivers.

Board member Dottie King was absent from the meeting while member Forrest Buell abstained.

Board president Ted Jackson, Supt. Dan Schroeder, Director of Personnel, Data and Food Service Carolyn Kumpf and Business Manager Mike Fowler served on the management team as well as attorney and chief negotiator Michelle Cooper.

There is a 1.25 percent one-time offer that is not on the salary schedule, a .5 percent one-time offer, for a retirement vehicle and a .25 percent increase on the salary schedule. The total is 2 percent. However, only the .25 percent is annual while the 1.25 and .5 percents would need to be voted on again next year.

One board member, however, questioned the validity of giving teachers a raise after expressing concerns the corporation is short at least six teachers.

"Our students need every one of today's teachers, plus the six teachers mentioned in our classrooms," board member Buell said.

"Knowing the above and the need to give our teachers a salary raise, how can this be done with the current budget?"

He asked the State Board of Accounts be brought in to investigate the financial status of the corporation. However, according to Fowler, the State Board of Accounts did a full audit 10 months ago.

"They did a thorough review and found everything to be in order," Fowler said.

In a letter delivered to board members at the conclusion of Thursday's meeting, Buell asked the item regarding the teacher's contracts be put on hold because any action on the agenda item, the contracts, would not solve the student drop out rate.

"An understaffed teacher classroom is not the answer to our dropout problem, especially in our early learning classrooms," Buell said.

"Our dropout students are sending a powerful message to our school board and our public. They cannot learn in our present classroom environment."

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-- Posted by GO HOOSIERS on Sun, Dec 13, 2009, at 7:38 PM

I know. Please get him another picture.

-- Posted by cc225 on Sun, Dec 13, 2009, at 8:58 PM

Isn't he mad at the world, though?

-- Posted by Bruther on Sun, Dec 13, 2009, at 11:09 PM


I agree completely.

-- Posted by Localguy1972 on Mon, Dec 14, 2009, at 7:55 AM

I'm afraid I have to agree w/ Dr Buell. though parental involvement is an issue in this community, the teacher shortage is as well. We can do something about that.

I am not saying that teachers don't deserve a raise but administrators should know that the economy won't allow it. Especially since we continue to spend in non academic areas like expanding physical plants while reducing academic opportunities for those students who DO have parental involvement. It's to the point now that things are being cut that parents recognize are needed. Like that 7th period at the high school. Cutting early bird this year has removed opportunities for those students whose parents knew it was necessary to be on the leading edge when competing for college admissions and scholarships. Nova Net has now been proven to NOT be a learning environment, only for credit recapture. It doesn't teach the entire course but only the portions that the student failed in the pretest. Getting the right answer on the pretest does not even assure that you will get the right answer on the post test either, as then some portions that relate to the pretest question they got correct are not taught but are part of the questions in the post test. So in essence the student is tested on something that was NOT gone over during the program. The system is seriously flawed as a teaching tool. as I said, it's credit recovery only. It does not teach the entire course and all the material pertaining to the course.

Combining classes where one teacher has to teach a subject at two levels cheats both levels of students, frustrates the students AND the teacher, and in this corporation makes the teacher appear inadequate where in reality it's decisions like this one to not higher more teachers but instead to give raises during a recession where people can't even find jobs, indicates the true inadequacy of management.

We still use numerous aides in the lower level class rooms who speak poor English so some of the students are not being corrected and leave this corporation not even realizing how poor it is. It has been going on long enough now that we even have started hiring back a few of these former students as aides and teachers, further handicapping the future success of some of our graduates in "the outside world".

Yes Tulie32, parents can have a large impact on the drop out rate but in this day and age where a high school diploma is not enough to make a living in this world, preventing the students from being all they can be by having too low of a ceiling and settling for par instead of excellence reflects very poorly on our administrators and school board. Keeping those kids in school is just not enough when we have college graduates who cannot find jobs in their field so they are working at the jobs the high school graduates used to do. Employing a few more teachers you see would help the situation on several levels.

Some schools have been told flat out that there will be no raises for multiple years in order to make it through this economic crisis so that they can continue to teach at the level they have in the past. In Clay County we don't do that. We build additions and continue to cut class offerings and increase student/teacher ratio, thus subtly lowering the academic ceiling bit by bit year after year.

-- Posted by Jenny Moore on Mon, Dec 14, 2009, at 8:21 AM

Buell has been a contrarian for as long as I can remember. To do what is right just propose the opposite and then he'll support it.

He and a couple of others on the board held up the school consolidation for 20 years (the corporation was formed in the 60s but a school wasn't built until the 80s) which cost tax payers big money by sustaining the old buildings while building costs outpaced inflation.

The joke back then was that until Staunton or Van Buren won a sectional, they'd never let the consolidated school be built. They thought they had it with VB in '71 but that didn't work out so well did it?

-- Posted by devil71 on Mon, Dec 14, 2009, at 10:37 AM

I know Dr. Buell well, and I know that this is a man who stands up for what he believes in, after much introspection and analysis. He is not a "contrarian." He is also not afraid of public backlash when he DOES do what he believes is right.

I hope when I'm 80 years old, I'll still care enough about the causes close to my heart now, and am courageous and energetic enough (he is both) to keep taking action.

-- Posted by CountryandCityMouse on Mon, Dec 14, 2009, at 2:13 PM

To see Dr. Buell smile, well, people just have to stop doing stupid things and losing sight of the goal of our school corporation, educating the most students to the highest degree possible.

As far as "stock" photographs go, I wish Dr. Schroeder would submit another one. The way he grins in his gives me the impression that he thinks that he has "pulled a fast one" on someone and that he does not take his position or responsibilities seriously.

I've spoken with both of these men and the thing that I see is that they are both concerned about education within the corporation. All in all, we agree on over 90% and I disagree with some of the ideas of both of them. Of course, both of them also disagree with some of my ideas, too.

I seriously doubt if the State Board of Accounts would find any problems in our system. They look at adherence to the regulations and not at viability of the business model. They are not an investor.

We need to keep the teachers that we have and add more on the budget that we have to use. To do that, we have to find the money that we can save in other areas, make the changes to save that money from being wasted, and re-invest that money in education by hiring teachers.

We missed an opportunity to do just that by expending money on two 50-year-old buildings that could have been replaced with one that would have had more classrooms than the two will have after renovation. We may well be in the process of missing another opportunity if the school corporation builds its transportation facility in the current location instead of moving it to land closer to Northview and North Clay along with consolidating it, Buildings & Grounds, and a sorely-needed new Central Office onto one piece of land.

I'm sure that there is other money being wasted. We are working hard on educating the students, the problem is that we are not working smart. We constantly think of how the things that exist can be improved instead of looking at what we would if they didn't exist, too.

Often, what you have is not the best you can use as I can use as an example my 12-year old truck. It suits my needs at the moment, but if my needs change to the point where I need to drive it daily it will be time to replace it with a more fuel-efficient model having the same capabilities.

We are trapped in a box and need to "think outside of the box".

-- Posted by Leo L. Southworth on Mon, Dec 14, 2009, at 2:29 PM

Exactly Leo. On one hand there is the argument that moving the transportation garage to the front of middle school will effect neighbors...but putting it there in combination with central office will potentially save money as current office building obsolete. I do not believe that there is any zoning that would prohibit this and those residential neighbors in the area obtained their houses knowing that protective zoning was not in place. Residential zoned properties are usually more expensive because nothing else is allowed there and protections of the sort are in place. I too would not want a bus garage across the road from me but I know that it could happen and if it is financially prudent it is the right decision for the students. THAT is who the corporation is working for. Not the people who live near the middle school. Those are only a dozen voters. Weighed against thousands of students. The answer is simple.

While I have children who play soccer [the only field without lights by the way-but I'd rather have an additional teacher for a year than ask for them], other schools schedule games so both soccer and football can be played on the same field. If school board is dead set against offending a few neighbors when it is their legal right to build there it is far better to rob the athletes of their sports field than to rob them of their education which is what they are indirectly doing by duplicating buildings and wasting money that could be used for additional teachers in the class room. There mission is to educate, not build buildings to look at and maintain.

-- Posted by Jenny Moore on Mon, Dec 14, 2009, at 3:26 PM

Tulie, for a person who doesn't use capitalization, punctuation or correct spelling, you're now an expert on education? Yea, right

-- Posted by I. M. Lee Thall, Esq. on Tue, Dec 15, 2009, at 12:03 PM

Let's compare the cost of giving the teacher's a raise to what Old Doc costs the corporation every time he asks for the same information again ... and again ... and again!!!

-- Posted by Gunslinger on Tue, Dec 15, 2009, at 5:16 PM

While we consider how much Forrest Buell has cost the corporation by asking questions, you may well want to ask how much the corporation has cost the taxpayers by not answering those questions the first time in a clear, concise manner. That's how I figured out just how the school corporation is not a free with information as is in the best interest of the public, the students, and, indeed, the corporation itself. I asked a question that, to date, still has not been answered by the school corporation; specifically,what are the ages of our elementary buildings and how long can we keep using them? You figure it out. They were all built within a 11-year span and the super stated at the meeting of the tax board that he "hoped" to get another 40 years out of CCE. They are all within 11 years of 50, so, logically, in about 40 years every one of them will be due for replacement. That, along with other things like reducing daily operating costs and getting more classrooms for the building dollar, is why I filed the petition to begin the petition and remonstrance process.

Had the corporation issued one clear, concise report that stated all of the options available to us, the benefits and drawbacks of each option instead of relying on building committees to form a strategic plan for the corporation when they only looked at their own buildings, we would have done something different, of that I am sure. That is precisely the same error that is being made with the Transportation Facility. Transportation needs a new building, but they should not be planning how the corporation meets their need. The corporation should be looking at the bigger picture and considering how to meet those needs at the lowest possible cost not only in the capital investment but also in daily operating costs.

-- Posted by Leo L. Southworth on Thu, Dec 17, 2009, at 1:14 PM

I am concerned about the equality of our elementary schools. Why does a school have 30 students in each kindergarten and first grade classroom and other schools have 16 students in the same grade levels because they added a third section? This doesn't seem fair to the students or the teachers involved? How can these students get the same quality of education? If a third section was added there would still be 20 students in each class! Why wasn't a teacher moved when the enrollment numbers were avaliable?

-- Posted by abcdefghi on Mon, Dec 21, 2009, at 4:49 PM

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