NEW HAVEN – The East Allen County Schools board gave the green light Tuesday for one group to buy Monroeville Elementary School and another group to rent Village Elementary.
The board voted unanimously to sell Monroeville Elementary to the Fort Wayne-South Bend Catholic Diocese for $189,000. The diocese will relocate St. Joseph Elementary School in Monroeville into the building.
“We have a long history of being partners with the community,” diocese Superintendent Mark Myers told the board. “It’s a small community; it’s like one small family. We’re committed to that community.”
As part of the district’s redesign plan, Monroeville Elementary closed at the end of last school year. Many opposed the move, but many of those same critics spoke out in favor of the sale at Tuesday’s meeting.
The board also agreed to have the district’s lawyers start contract negotiations with charter school Timothy L. Johnson Academy.
The board agreed to lease part of Village Elementary to the school and to give the charter school the first right to buy the building if the district decided to sell.
During discussion about the move, East Allen board member Stephen Terry, who works at the charter school, gave an impromptu PowerPoint presentation on why the district should consider selling the building to the charter.
He advocated partnering with Timothy L. Johnson, and suggested that East Allen could become a charter school authorizer in the future.
Because state money follows children in Indiana, East Allen would lose money if its students left the district to attend the charter.
Board member Bill Hartman, who helped start the charter school but who no longer works there, suggested that Terry abstain from the vote.
All seven board members – including Terry – voted in favor of the deal.
The board also approved the purchase of iPads for students and teachers to use next fall. The district will spend about $3.5 million to buy iPads for every student in grades 4 through 12 and iPads for one in every four students in grades 1 through 3.
Board members Janice Witte and Richard Allgeier opposed the vote, and Terry abstained. Alyssa Lewandowski, who was in attendance after missing 10 board meetings, voted for the measure, as did board President Neil Reynolds, Hartman and Terry Jo Lightfoot.
The board also accepted the resignation of New Haven Middle School Principal Peter Downey, who retired at the end of March. Curriculum director Marilyn Hissong has been interim principal, East Allen Superintendent Karyle Green said.