SCHOOL NEWS: Board members raises; Sprunica Elementary emergency pay; personnel changes

School board votes to give themselves raises

The Brown County School Board of Trustees approved a $12-per-meeting pay increase with a 4-1 vote last week — a 12 percent increase in meeting pay from the $100 they have been getting.

The per meeting pay is on top of a $2,000 per year salary and $62 for each special meeting they attend.

The opposing vote came from Stephanie Kritzer, who was elected president of the board the same evening.

“I was surprised to see that we were going to give ourselves a raise for meetings. It’s been $100, and last year it was brought up to give ourselves a raise, and I quite frankly think that even though it’s $24 a month, it’s not anything we need,” Krtizer said.

Former president of the board Judy Hardwick, who was elected vice president of the board this year, said the amount came from an email from the Indiana School Board Association, which stated $112 was an “appropriate” amount to ask for.

“We have given everyone else raises in the corporation. I’ve been on here for 10 years and haven’t had a raise, so I figured this would be a good time to go ahead, since we’re giving everybody else a raise, to approve it,” Hardwick said.

Kritzer said the money would be coming from the district’s general fund.

Brown County voters approved a general fund referendum last spring and promised voters the money would be used for raises for teachers and support staff.

“I don’t think we can justify giving ourselves a raise,” Kritzer said.

Emergency pay approved for elementary school staff

On Dec. 16 and Jan. 9, students and staff at Sprunica Elementary School were dismissed either early or for the entire day due to a lack of heat in the building.

On Jan. 19, the Brown County School Board of Trustees approved retroactive emergency pay for those teachers and staff.

“Emergency days” do not have to be made up, unlike snow days.

“It’s certainly not their fault that they didn’t have heat,” said Superintendent Laura Hammack. “We are actively working to ensure that never happens again.”

School board approves personnel, reorganization of board

On Jan. 19 the Brown County School Board of Trustees approved the following:

  • Stephanie Kritzer as president of the board and president of the Board of Finance; Judy Hardwick as vice president; Carol Bowden as secretary and as as secretary/treasurer of the Board of Finance; Susie Owens as district treasurer; Jill Wray and Julie Smith as deputy treasurers; Michelle Cooper as corporation attorney and Renee Seacat as recording secretary.
  • The retirement notice of Brown County Schools nurse Marie Mooney, effective April 7.
  • A $500 donation from McDonald’s of Brown County to Brown County Junior High School for audio listening technology for special education students.
  • New courses for next school year at Brown County High School: Prep for College and Careers, College and Career Readiness Bridge — Literacy Ready, College and Career Readiness Bridge — Math Ready and Integrated Chemistry-Physics.
  • An adjustment in records to accurately reflect the portion the school board contributes to employees’ health insurance. Previously reported amounts were less than what was the board was actually paying. This does not affect employee costs, Hammack said.
  • Separating Van Buren Elementary School long-term substitute Melinda Case, effective immediately. This was not a termination.
  • Separating BCS special education driver bus driver Patrick Knapp, effective Jan. 20. This was not a termination.
  • Separating BCS transportation director Cal Blake, effective immediately. This was not a termination.
  • Appointing BCS special needs bus monitor Barbara Brock, part-time with no benefits, $12.25 per hour, not to exceed five hours per day.