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Board asks to approve contracts at EACS

Reynolds

– East Allen County Schools board members approved amendments to two resolutions Tuesday requiring the administration to bring back individual contracts associated with particular grants for separate approval.

Board member Neil Reynolds recommended the amendments based on a situation several years ago when the board approved a grant and the grant money was used for a contract Reynolds didn’t agree with, he said.

He said the move was also triggered by discussion during the board’s Sept. 18 meeting when some members were questioning an individual contract with a former administrator, only to find out that the contract services to be provided had already begun.

Reynolds asked that “associated contracts” be removed from the resolutions to require the district to bring back any contract associated with the grants.

The board approved Reynolds’ amendments 5-2. Janice Witte and Terry Jo Lightfoot dissented and said the move involved the board in micromanaging the district.

Witte said it’s board policy to approve individual contracts over a certain amount, but she didn’t know the exact amount.

One grant is from the state for about $291,000 to be used for teacher and staff training; the other, an early literacy grant, could total up to $50,000 divided among five schools.

The board also approved new health insurance options for employees, including high-deductible plans and health savings accounts.

Teachers are exempt from any changes, per their contract expiring in 2016.

The district plans to begin informational meetings this month to help employees choose their best option.

Member Alyssa Lewandowski was the only board member to vote against the changes because she said she wasn’t sure they would be affordable for employees.

“I know we’ve got to watch our costs, but I just don’t feel right asking people to pay that much,” she said.

Lightfoot said she appreciated that the district was offering different options and helping employees understand those options.

Board recognition

Terry Jo Lightfoot was the 2012 recipient of the Indiana School Board Association’s Outstanding Boardsmanship Award. Lightfoot was nominated and chosen from a pool of candidates based on the nomination.

“It was quite an honor for the district for her to win that award,” Superintendent Karyle Green said at the board’s meeting Monday.

sarah.janssen@jg.net

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