HIGHLIGHTS: School Policy Revisions (7:08); Board Meetings Changed to 2nd Mondays (7:16); Increase in School Lunch Price (7:19); Background Checks to Enter Schools (7:50); Legal Services Fees (8:03); Back Pay of $69,507 to Former Interim CFO and Deleted Public Information (8:03); WLES Principal Search (8:10)
Voted 7 out of 7
6:31 – WLCSC retirees were honored:
- Verna Yoder – Jr/Sr HS art teacher; 34 years art educator at WLCSC; coached junior high cheerleading; coached fine arts team for past 20 years; received the Indiana outstanding secondary art educator of the year award in 2014; National Honors Society faculty. She learned to expect the unexpected. She said wonderful kids come from amazing parents and she can learn from those parents. She could fill a book with all her favorite moments with students.
- Katherine Kincaid – Jr/Sr HS art teacher; 28 years art educator; taught art to pre-K & kindergarten in Lafayette; taught at Happy Hollow and then at the Jr/Sr HS; president of WLEA; faculty sponsor for Art Club and UNICEF. She loved going on student field trips, especially to the Art Institute of Chicago and Millenium Park. She is excited by student creativity where giving the same instructions for an art assignment to 20 students would produce 20 different results.
- Phil Miller – Jr/Sr HS night custodian; 10 years. He was a remarkable employee and was kind and helpful.
- Beth Bangs – WLIS nurse; 16 years as nurse at WLIS. She is a consummate community person. She enjoyed 5th grade camp and would insist that the students put a napkin on their lap and use silverware.
- Etta Wesley – Jr/Sr HS principal secretary; 33 years. She cherished getting to know all the wonderful students, parents, and co-workers.
- Chris Anderson – WLIS nurse; part-time nurse with Bangs at HH from 2008 until retired in 2016; returned to WLIS fall 2019. She learned that she was not just a nurse, she was part: teacher, counselor, disciplinarian, parent, pharmacist, administrative assistant, and friend.
- Alice Shum – WLES custodian; 20 years. She is kind and funny with a sense of humor. She is a hard worker and meticulous.
- Jeff Kirby – WLES & WLIS Safety Officer, SRO, & Dare Officer; 9 years; collaborator 6th grade police picnic. He enjoyed working at all the schools.
- Karen Swift – WLIS ESL; 14 years; worked with students from China, Japan, South Korea, Spain, Italy, Germany, Ukraine, Russia, Poland, Afghanistan, & Jordan. Her favorite moments were when she gained the trust of new English learner students and then saw them become comfortable.
- Christine Ryba – Jr/Sr HS paraprofessional; 7 years. She came to WLCSC after retiring as a teacher from LSC. She is a true team player who helps students and teachers.
Representative Sheila Klinker and Representative Chris Campbell attended the meeting to show their support for these school retirees.
7:05 – No community members signed up to speak on current agenda items.
7:06 – Greiner shared the first reading of policy 8305. It ensures user agreement, cyber security training, and data information protection. I am so pleased that the school board is now using a first/second reading procedure for all newly proposed policies. This procedure gives the community access to the text of the proposed policy so we can share input with school board members before they vote at the next school board meeting. I think the school board should adopt this procedure for nearly every vote, not just newly proposed policies.
7:07 – Greiner asked for approval of policy 0164.5 and policy 0164.6. These were shared with the community with a first reading during last month’s meeting. Policy 0164.5 is about board members attending meetings virtually and policy 0164.6 is about virtual meetings during a disaster. Policy 0164.5 requires that at least 50% of school board members attend the meeting in person (at least 4 out of 7) unless there is a disaster or pandemic. However, it also says that no more than 2 board members will be allowed to attend the same meeting virtually. It is not clear why they could not allow 3 members to attend virtually if the other 4 are attending in-person. If three members were to all request to attend virtually for a given meeting, would the board president pick which board member to exclude from the meeting?
Voted 7 out of 7
7:08 – Greiner asked for approval of revisions of 14 policies:
- 0167.3 Public participation at board meetings
- 1220, 1520 Employment of superintendent and administrators
- 3120.08, 4120.08, 8455 Training of personnel for extracurricular activities in sudden cardiac arrest
- 3120.11 Public hearing before commencement of collective bargaining and before ratification of tentative agreement
- 5340.01 Student sudden cardiac arrest
- 5540 School and governmental agencies allowing DCS to interview a student alone on campus
- 6105 Authorization to accept and distribute electronic records and use electronic signatures
- 6230 Budget hearing
- 7450 Property inventory
- 7540.03, 7540.04 Student and staff technology acceptable use and safety
The agenda listed 13 policies, but the school board packet included 14, so I listed all 14 above. Yin asked when the budget hearing meeting will be held and if it is a special meeting or included in the regular board meeting. Ohlhaut said the workshop would be next month and the budget hearing would be in September as part of the regular board meeting.
Witt asked Greiner to confirm that the only policy revisions being made are to comply with new legal requirements or to correct typographical errors. Greiner confirmed that this was the case. Yes, the vast majority of the policy revisions are to comply with new legal requirements or to correct typos, However, important changes are sometimes slipped in these long lists unnoticed. For example, the revision to policy 0167.3 this month gives the board president unilateral control of board meeting agendas with new language saying that items can only be added to the agenda if approved by the board president. This isn’t a typo change and I doubt that it is required by new legislation. My concern is that the school board votes to approve these changes without having ever shown the text to the public. We are only able to see the revised text after the board has already voted to make the change. If there was nothing to hide, the school board leadership would not be arguing so strongly against providing the community access to the text of the policy changes before the vote.
Consider a second example: at last month’s meeting (May 6:47), the school board approved revisions to policy 2260 (procedures when there is a discrimination complaint). The school board voted to change the policy to make the superintendent’s decision on discrimination complaints final and to not allow those with complaints to appeal to the school board. Our neighboring school districts have policies that allow the superintendent’s decision to be appealed to the school board and then state that the school board’s decision is final. So, our school board voted to give up their authority over discrimination issues. This change wasn’t about fixing a typo; it’s a substantive policy change being inserted into a long list of other changes and voted on before the public gets to see it. Why not let the public see the text of proposed policy changes and then vote on them at the next meeting?
Of the long list of policy revisions approved this month, my favorite is the addition to policy 6230 that requires the school corporation to “specify the corporation’s revenue spending plan associated with a referendum tax levy . . . and the specific purposes for which the revenue collected will be used and an estimate of the annual dollar amounts that will be expended for each purpose.” This revisited policy (made to comply with new legislation) requires school leaders to be upfront about where referendum money is being spent.
Voted 7 out of 7
7:16 – Approval of school board meeting calendar for 2022-2023. The meetings will be changed from the 1st Monday of the month to the 2nd Monday of the month beginning August 8, 2022. Yin said she appreciates the change as community members have been asking for it and can now attend both school board and city council meetings if they desire. I’m very pleased with this decision. Yin is right that community members have been asking for it ever since December 2015 when the school board voted to move the school board meeting to the same day and time as the city council meeting. It’s a win for the community and great that the board now seems to be paying more attention to community voices.
Voted 7 out of 7
7:18 – Ohlhaut said that federal law requires a vote to approve participation in federal title grants 1-5 before each new school year. The meeting agenda listed that there would be no vote, but Ohlhaut insisted that a vote take place. There was no information in the school board packet and there was no discussion.
Voted 7 out of 7
7:19 – Courtney FitzSimons, food service director, asked for approval of a food service price increase. This item was listed on the agenda as “information only” but then at the meeting they decided to vote on it. My view is that voting on a change like this one that impacts most of the families in our school district without having publicly shared any information is wrong. Our school board needs to do better.
FitzSimons explained that our school corporation participates in the National School Lunch Program that provides federal funding to offer low-cost or free lunches to our students. In 2019-2020 (pre-pandemic), the regular-priced lunch cost $2.65 at WLES, $2.85 at WLIS, and $2.95 at the Jr/Sr HS. The school corporation was reimbursed $0.32 for each regular-priced lunch provided. Federal pandemic funding over the past two years provided the school corporation with reimbursement of $4.56 for each lunch provided at no cost to students. The fraction of students eating school lunch was higher over the past two years than previously. The USDA usually releases guidelines about how much the school corporation can charge for school lunch, but has not yet. FitzSimons expects them to recommend a $0.10 increase. The USDA has also not yet announced the 2022-2023 reimbursement rates for regular-priced lunch, but has announced that the school corporation will be reimbursed $3.73 for each free lunch provided (to students who qualify for free-price lunch). FitzSimons recommended that the lunch prices for the 2022-2023 school year be set at: $3.00 at WLES & WLIS and $3.25 at the Jr/Sr HS. She said that next year will be challenging because even with the proposed price increases, the food service department is facing lower revenue per lunch than over the past two years. She said that the IDOE will provide $48,000 to our school corporation in supply chain assistance funds that will be used to purchase milk, fresh fruit, and vegetables. FitzSimons said that our food service department is fully self-sufficient.
Austin asked how the a la carte items affect the budget. FitzSimons said that the school loses money on free- and reduced-price lunches and said that a la carte items are priced to bring in additional income to offset the loss. She explained that there are federal guidelines about the sugar, sodium, and whole grain content of a la carte items that she follows in selecting items to be offered for sale. Yin asked how our food prices compare to neighboring school districts. Fitzsimmons said that 35% of TSC students receive free- or reduced-price lunch and will be charging $2.50 for each regular-price lunch. She said that 85% of LSC students receive free- or reduced-price lunch and are looking into community eligibility that would make all students qualify for free lunch (not an option for our community). Similar to WL, about 20% of Lafayette Christian students receive free- or reduced-price lunch and regular-price lunch there was previously $3.40 and she thinks it may increase to $3.50. Silvercreek and Eastern Hancock have 30% of students receiving free- or reduced-price lunch and they charge $3.15 for regular-price lunch. She said that our lunch price would be high, but noted that we have a very low fraction of students who receive free- or reduced-price lunch. Witt noted that they currently have staff and support for high lunch participation and then asked what would happen if participation drops. FitzSimmons said that at the Jr/Sr HS we had 500 students eating lunch and 50 for breakfast pre-Covid. These past 2 years have had 700 students eating lunch and 200 for breakfast. They anticipate 600 students for lunch and 100-150 for breakfast next year and said that she would cut back positions (by attrition) if needed. This information about school lunch is helpful and much appreciated. Our school board has come a long way over the past year. They used to just rubber stamp every administration proposal with no information shared publicly, no questions, and no discussion. I love that the school board culture is changing. The next step is to get the school board to inform the community about each issue before they vote. It is not easy putting together a food service budget with so much uncertainty about reimbursement rates and lunch participation. It’s hard to know if the increase in eating school lunch was more about making lunch free or about closing lunch at the Jr/Sr HS since both of those changes happened simultaneously. I was left wondering if the food service department at TSC is also self-sufficient or if school corporation operations funds are being used to subsidize school lunch? Does it make sense to require our food service department to be self-sufficient? I wish that our food service department wasn’t being incentivized to sell a la carte cookies, chips, fruit snacks, and brownies in order to make their budget balance.
Voted 7 out of 7
7:34 – Ohlhaut asked for approval of Happy Hollow lease agreements that are up for renewal or for a change in terms. GLASS would like to amend their lease that ends at the end of the 2022-2023 school year to include half of the office section and would increase their payment. The Church in Lafayette would like to renew for another year but would reduce their usage slightly. The PATIN group, a consortium of special education suppliers, would like to increase usage from 1 to 2 classrooms which would increase their rent. All leases expire in 2023 as the school board considers the future of this facility. Several years ago, the plan was to convert Happy Hollow into a preschool that would also house the WLES kindergarten classrooms. However, that was before the massive self-inflicted debt issues and since then the school board has not yet shared any information about their future plans for Happy Hollow. Hopefully the recent increase in property values in our school district will eventually enable the school corporation to do something more useful with Happy Hollow.
Voted 7 out of 7
7:38 – Greiner asked for approval for an additional retainer payment to Reuter Consulting to continue providing financial consulting through the end of 2022. The school corporation first hired Reuter as an external financial consultant to review the school corporation’s expenditure, revenue, and borrowing at the April (6:42) meeting. Yin thanked Greiner for having earlier answered her questions about this. I’m frustrated by this tradition of school board members asking administrators questions behind closed doors. If a board member doesn’t understand something about a school issue, it seems almost certain that the public doesn’t understand either. I get that It doesn’t seem fair to call Yin out for doing this when she has asked more questions in public school board meetings over the past year than all the other board members combined, but I feel strongly that board members should ask school administrators questions in public meetings, where the answer is on the record, rather than in private conversations. It would have been nice to hear the explanation for why our school district continues to need the services of an external financial consultant.
Voted 7 out of 7
7:39 – Ohlhaut asked for approval of the Bus Maintenance Agreement. WLCSC does not have a bus maintenance facility and has contracted for those services from TSC for many years. The contract is up for renewal. The terms are the same as in past years with WLCSC paying TSC $4,625 per bus per year for each of WL’s 19 buses ($87,875 in total each year) to have access to the TCS repair facility, fuel islands, and bus parking. The cost of the fuel and of any needed repairs are in addition to this fixed access fee. Yin asked how the fixed access price was set. Ohlhaut said that TSC is charging what they think is a fair price for the wear and tear on their facility. Yin asked if there was any reference for this price and expressed that she felt it was too high. Ohlhaut said he doesn’t know of other school districts that rent a bus facility, but said he could try to find out. Yin said that some WL school buses are parked at Happy Hollow and others are parked at the WL athletic complex rather than at the TSC facility. Ohlhaut confirmed this and said that some additional WL buses are parked at the TSC facility. I’m happy that Yin is asking questions about how reasonable this expense is. Just because we have been doing something a particular way for years doesn’t mean that it is the best approach. For example, if Yin had not asked questions about the cost of legal services, we wouldn’t have learned that the school corporation pays about $300,000 per year to its lawyer for about 20 hours of work per week (billed at $290/hour). Thanks to her questions, school leaders are now considering other legal services providers (see 8:08 below).
Voted 6 out of 7 (Yin abstained)
7:47 – Ohlhaut asked for approval to purchase 24 student licenses for Edmentum courses used in the Red Devil Academy Credit Recovery Program. Red Devil Academy attempts to keep students who have fallen behind in earning high school credits on track to graduate. The program supervisor provides students with access to Edmentum courses as a replacement for WL high school courses. Ohlhaut said the administration is asking for approval for 24 licenses for the 2022-2023 school year. Witt pointed out that the agreement is the same as last year. Yin asked how many students used Edmentum last year. Ohlhaut said that in the first semester, 24 WL students completed 122 courses. Of the 24 students: 6 graduated, 8 have subsequently returned to traditional classes, 7 will be back in the Red Devil Academy program, and 3 left the school district. Over the past 2 years, 37 Red Devil Academy students graduated and Ohlhaut suggested that they may not have had they not had access to this program. It sounds as though the maximum number of students used the program last year. Does this mean there was additional need for the program, but there were no additional available licenses? Is 24 the optimal number of licenses every year? At least this year the school board had some discussion on the topic. Last year, at the June 2021 Meeting (7:32), Yin tried to ask these same questions and Karpick and the previous superintendent tried to quiet her.
Voted 7 out of 7
7:50 – Greiner asked for approval of the WLES Student Handbook and Code of Conduct. The revisions are highlighted in the document. An important change is the new school start and end times. Greiner said that lunch-time visits by parents will be allowed next year and noted that this is re-included in the handbook. Yin asked about background checks for those wanting to help in our schools. Greiner said that he has discussed this topic with several community members as well as with principals and school board members. Policy 3121 says that “any volunteer who may have direct, ongoing contact with children when performing services for the school, must provide to the Corporation an expanded criminal history check prior to beginning volunteer work for the Corporation.” However, it also says that the “Superintendent may develop and periodically update an exceptions list to permit volunteers to provide services without an expanded criminal history check.” Greiner said that the limited background check would allow for many opportunities like a parent going into the school for lunch with their child, going on certain field trips, or reading aloud to the class. This will hopefully allow more parents to be involved. Yin implied that parents may be confused and noted that she got a background check, but isn’t sure if it is expanded or limited. Witt said that Greiner is allowing the limited background checks as a new option. Greiner clarified that it isn’t new as there have already been times when people have been in the schools with only a limited background check. Austin’s mic wasn’t on, but I think she responded to Yin that limited background checks are free and that expanded background checks can be expensive for people who have moved around. Yin asked if West Lafayette Schools Education Foundation (WLSEF) or parent council could cover the fee for parents who wish for an expanded background check. Greiner said that the school board policy states that parents and teachers have to pay for their own background checks. Witt said that this change will allow “parents to come in the classroom in a safe way and if they are supervised by an adult who has a complete check, so more parents can come in and be welcome.” Greiner said he has been asked if we could go to a tiered background check system, but after talking to principals he would rather make it so that a limited background check works for parents who want to volunteer. Yin again suggested asking WLSEF or parent council to pay for expanded background checks. Witt responded that parent feedback to her has been that parents don’t want to have to ask for money. Austin recommended discussing the scholarship idea at the community council meeting in the fall. There still seems to be some confusion both about what the background check policy was and how it is being changed. However, I’m just happy that they are working on this. Several years ago, the schools started requiring expanded background checks and there was an immediate drop in the number of parent volunteers in the schools. I’m looking forward to more information on this to clarify what a parent or community member needs to do to be able to help in our schools.
Voted 7 out of 7
8:00 – Greiner shared that WLCSC accepted a donation of books from One Book One World West Lafayette for Asian American and Pacific Island Heritage Month. He received 12 books for WLES, 12 books for WLIS, and 8 books for the Jr/Sr HS. He thanked the One Book One World West Lafayette group and said that he looks forward to a continued partnership. There was some discussion about if they needed to vote to approve the donation but Greiner said they did not.
8:01 – Greiner asked for approval for several field trips that either involve an overnight stay or travel out of state: Boys Soccer, Cross Country, Debate Team, Football, Girls Basketball, Robotics, and Dance Team.
Voted 7 out of 7
8:02 – Greiner asked for approval of the personnel report. There was no discussion. There are a large number of employment changes listed in the report. One to note is that Amber Targgart is resigning as principal of WLES and leaving the school district effective June 30. Greiner has already begun the search for a new principal (see 8:10 below). I think getting a new principal for WLES will be great for teachers and students. Targgart’s first year as principal was my last year teaching. I loved teaching, but while a supportive principal and administration team makes a teacher’s job better, administrators can make a teacher’s job much worse by adding unnecessary stress. After finishing that year, I decided that I would leave teaching and try to help students in other ways.
Voted 7 out of 7
8:03 – Ohlhaut asked for approval of the accounts payable report. Yin said she had asked before the meeting about the legal services fee for the month ($18,234) and thanked Greiner for giving her more information. She said she is still concerned about how much the lawyer is charging to review public access requests and asked how we can reduce the expense. Greiner said that we can reduce the cost by being more transparent in our approach as a school corporation. He noted that there are times where private information has to be protected and referenced a request for legal services invoices. Yin asked if redactions have to be done by the lawyer. Greiner said that his administrative assistant often does the redaction, but she needs to be able to ask the lawyer if she is doing it correctly. Witt shared that she personally redacts her weekly emails to the school board before sharing them with the community but said that she had to ask legal counsel to help her know what she should redact. Our school corporation has a history of trying to keep everything secret. I wrote a post about this on my website: Gag Order. I believe Greiner’s reference to a request for legal services invoices came from Ila Chaubey in January 2022. The school lawyer, Reiling, responded to her request by sending invoices with everything redacted. She filed a complaint with the Public Access Counselor and this time, rather than fight it, the school corporation just sent her the invoices with only personal information redacted. Greiner appears to be the driving force behind the recent increase in school transparency and I’m very grateful for the change.
Voted 7 out of 7
I’ve got a long comment about a line on the accounts payable report for this month. It shows a payment of $69,507 to the former interim CFO, Ross Sloat who retired in March 2022. After stepping down as superintendent for another district, Sloat served as interim CFO in our district from July 2010 to June 2015 and from January 2016 until March 2022. Sloat was working as a consultant through his personal consulting company (Pine Mesa LLC) rather than as a full-time employee and was being paid at a daily rate of $885, equivalent to a full-time salary of about $220,000. He has no formal training in accounting or finance which may be why he kept “interm” in his CFO title for more than a decade. The school corporation also paid the lease on his car and his cell phone bill. On April 1, 2022, Steve Ohlhaut took over the CFO position (they dropped “interim” from the title). A few days later at the April meeting (7:57), a big upcoming payment to Sloat was discussed. Yin asked about a payment to Sloat and Witt said, “it’s a typical school contract thing: there’s nothing unusual there, really,” but then she questioned why Yin was asking about the upcoming payment and then said that a public school board meeting was not the place to discuss this topic. That Witt wanted to keep this out of public view seemed like a signal that there was something to hide. So, I submitted a public records request for Sloat’s contract and related documents and the school board responded to my request by posting the requested documents to the school website. The documents reveal two troubling issues: (1) lack of documentation for this payment and (2) missing information in the relevant personnel report.
- The school board claims to have approved to pay Sloat over $60,000 in back pay at the March 2019 meeting and provided the personnel report from that meeting which says under administrative recommendations: “approval of MOU for Pine Mesa LLC.” The documents the school district posted to comply with my request also include the MOU from February 2019 where the school corporation agreed to the payment to Sloat. However, the MOU does not provide details about what payments Sloat had already received during 2017 and 2018 nor about what days/hours Sloat worked that were not paid during this time. I find it very strange that the MOU would specify that they delay fixing this back pay issue until up to a year after Sloat ends his consulting contract with the district. When Sloat retired and apparently asked the school board for the money, there seemed to be some confusion and lack of documentation for the agreement. Witt apparently had to ask other school board members what they remembered about this back-pay history and commented in her April 23, 2022 email to board members: “Thank you to all who concurred that all info presented regarding the history exactly matched your recall.”
- The March 2019 personnel report that the school board posted in response to my request is different from the original March 2019 personnel report shared on the school’s website. You can compare them for yourself. The administrative recommendations, including the line about approving the MOU for Pine Mesa LLC, were deleted from the original personnel report that was publicly posted a month after the March 2019 board meeting. So, why did school leaders delete the information in the administrative recommendations section before publicly posting the report? Maybe they wanted to hide this payment to Sloat, or maybe they wanted to hide that they were creating several new administrator positions while they had just voted to fire first-year teachers at WLES and WLIS, or maybe they didn’t want the public to know that they were spending school funds to send school leaders on a trip to London later that year? After I realized that the original and recently posted personnel reports for March 2019 were different, I emailed the school board to ask why. Witt responded via her weekly email to school board members and said, “No one currently employed in the Central Office was involved in the drafting or editing of the minutes of the school board meetings at that time, so we are unable to provide an explanation for the lack of detail in the subheading for Administrative Recommendations in these publicly-posted minutes.” Deleting information from the official minutes of school board meetings before posting them is dishonest and very alarming. The school board officers then and the school board officers now were all school board members in March 2019 when this happened.
8:08 – Witt gave an update on the ongoing search for legal services and reported that she met with Yin, Marley and Greiner and they are working through the process and plan to bring a recommendation to the board for a vote in August. She congratulated Austin for being chosen by the Indiana School Board Association to serve for 2 years as a legislative liaison for region 4. Witt also reported that four board members will begin using a school email account for their school business: Yin, Marley, Austin, and Witt. Witt announced that there is a $35 fee for prospective board members to attend the ISBA training on Monday, July 11th, 6:30-8:00pm at the high school. School board members should have been using school email addresses for their school business all along. I don’t know why Karpick, Springer, and Schott are still using personal email accounts for their school business. I asked school board members to make this change to school emails back in January (see topic #3) and I’m happy that a majority of them decided to follow my recommendation. I’m excited to hear the result of the legal services search. I would be shocked if they decide to hire Reiling again after all that’s gone on.
8:10 – Greiner gave an update on the WLES principal search. He thanked Dr. Amber Targgart for her service. The position opening was posted on May 26th. Greiner said he has been collecting feedback from staff and WLES families through an open-ended survey. The survey has had a large number of responses and has produced good feedback which the interview committee will use. The committee will consist of teachers, parents, building administrators, central office administrators, and one school board member (Marley). First round interviews will be June 17th. I’m so happy to see the involvement of parents and teachers on the interview committee! Marley’s wife works at WLES, so maybe that is why Witt picked him to serve on this committee. I hope they hire someone great who will support the students and teachers at WLES.
8:13 – Board Reports
- Redevelopment Commission – Marley shared that Yeager road has been closed from Cumberland to Sagamore Parkway. Also the corner of Salisbury and Cumberland is 18 inches too narrow so it needs to be widened and utilities have to be moved but there are delays.
- West Lafayette Schools Education Foundation – Schott shared that the foundation director, Wendi Ailor, will be moving out of her office in the central administration building to the Jr/Sr HS. This will allow room for the new assistant superintendent to move in. Six alumni reunions are scheduled from July-October. The all-alumni tailgate is scheduled for September 9th prior to the homecoming football game. WL tractor employees packed school supply kits for WLIS the last Saturday of May.
- Park Board – Springer shared that the WL outdoor pool is open for the summer. Summer camps for kids are offered at the Wellness Center and Lily Nature Center.
- Teacher Discussion – Springer shared that they discussed reconvening the teacher evaluation committee to analyze the implementation of the 2019-2020 new evaluation document but because of Covid wasn’t implemented until this year. The union members on the discussion committee said that they appreciate the new health clinic option that will be available to school employees starting in September.
- Policy Committee – Springer shared they will meet this summer to discuss the May 2022 policy updates and reported that they have completed all the policy revisions from the October 2021 updates. She shared that WLCSC stakeholders can suggest changes to policies at any time by emailing Roberta Julian, administrative assistant to the superintendent.
8:20 – Yin shared that she is not on any active committees but did want to share some comments. She expressed appreciation to the Asian community for their book donations. She asked Greiner to verify that other groups who would like to donate should contact him and Greiner said yes. She also thanked Greiner for doing the survey for the WLES principal search and asked about access to the information collected. Greiner said he would share it with school board members.
8:22 – Communication from the audience on non-agenda items (those who had signed up before the meeting began).
- Erin Moon-Walker (a parent) shared comments about the Red Devil Principles/Core Values for Jr/Sr HS that Shriner shared at the parent council meeting in May (8:12). The list of principles and values includes: minimize absences, sleep at home, put your phone away, and finish what you start. She said that she is a therapist and said that values are a driving force for mental health. This list doesn’t sound like guiding principles but seems more like a list of grievances. This list does not inspire greatness. It is looking at the signs and symptoms of students’ struggles and not the barriers that they face. Values and principles should be written so that they apply across contexts and to all students. Does the student who is being bullied need to be told to minimize their absences? Does the student who was sexually assaulted by a peer need to be told to speak with integrity? Does the student who just experienced a microaggression from a staff member need to be told to keep an open mind? What about the student with learning disabilities who needs to hear that it is okay to learn differently? She said that she is not clear why that was left out. She asked if this list reflects the true heart of the school. She knows staff and administrators have the best intentions but feels like this list values compliance more than compassion. Feeling safe, appreciated, and worthy is what opens students minds and encourages students to be present compared to being commanded to be a good citizen or sleep at home. We can do better and encourage our students to express love, imagination, safety, and inspiration. No one responded to Moon-Walker’s comments.
8:27 – Meeting is adjourned
Location: Happy Hollow Building, LGI Room
Streaming: WLCSC Regular Board Meeting June 6, 2022
Attendance: 7 of 7 School Board Members (Yue Yin, Bradley Marley, Thomas Schott, Alan Karpick, Karen Springer, Rachel Witt, Amy Austin); Shawn Greiner, Superintendent; Stephen Ohlhaut, CFO
Future Meetings (calendar link)
- No July School Board Meeting
- Regular School Board Meeting – Monday, August 8th at 6:30pm at Happy Hollow LGI Room
These are not the official minutes from the school board meetings. I am a parent of WLCSC students and my thoughts are given in italics. The official minutes are released after the approval of those minutes at the next school board meeting (1 month from now). Previous agendas, minutes, and audio recordings can be found at the WLCSC website.