2018-06-13 / Front Page

DCTA questions proposed admin position

By Debbie Lowe
Staff writer

The Delphi Community School Board opens each monthly meeting in the same way. The first item on the agenda is the “Call to Order” followed by an invitation to those in the audience to comment on any item on the agenda. Usually, there are no comments and the meeting proceeds.

The usual did not happen Monday night. Two individuals spoke. A parent requested school safety become a topic at the July meeting to discuss what steps are currently being taken to protect students and what more needs to be done. The Board agreed by consensus to address the matter in July. Board President Steve Myer said student safety is the highest priority.

The second person to approach the Board was the Delphi Classroom Teachers Association (DCTA) President Tim Conner. He said he wanted to discuss a new position listed on the agenda. Before Conner could continue, Myer said the position and the proposed new hire listed was to be “pulled from the agenda.”

DCTA representative Conner distributed a list of 11 questions to each of the board members before he took his seat. He said the questions were from the DCTA and requested they be answered at some point.

In a follow-up interview with Conner, who has taught at DCSC for 35 years, and DCTA member Judi Brummett, who has taught for 28 years, the two described why the teachers’ association has concerns with the agenda item about the new position. They indicate there are roughly 1,416 students in the corporation and wonder what possible impact upon students a “Special Education Supervisor, Title Grant Coordinator, Testing Coordinator” would have on those students.

According to the agenda, Alisan Clayton was to be appointed to the position, which pays $82,000 (benefits unknown) annually. Brummett and Conner said Clayton is an assistant principal in the Tippecanoe School Corporation (TSC). A search of the TSC web site revealed Clayton is an assistant principal at the Battle Ground Elementary School.

“We think the $82,000 is being pulled away from our students,” Conner and Brummett stated in unison.

Their assertion is there are other positions which are clearly needed more than this position, such as a qualified art teacher in the elementary and middle schools and a science teacher at the middle school.

The DCTA representatives assert the job was not posted at the school corporation. They said DCTA has the understanding the position will be a Logansport Area Joint Special Education Services (LAJSSC) partial hire, yet the matter appeared on the DCSC Board agenda Monday night with the approval to pay the salary. According to a LAJSSC representative Tuesday morning, DCSC is a member of the group through the end of the 2018-2019 school year.

Conner and Brummett said their job in the teachers’ association is to make all teachers aware of what is going on in the school corporation. They indicated they cannot perform their duty due to a lack of transparency on the part of the administration and the board.

“It’s all about transparency,” the duo said. “What came first, the person or the position?”

Questions posed to school board members, which were not answered Monday night, are:

1.) What research was done, or data gathered, to determine the need for an additional corporation level administrator? When was this done and who was involved in the process?

2.) How was this newly-created position advertised? Internally? DOE website? Other?

3.) When and where were interviews done? Were there additional candidates? What DCSC staff members and community members were involved in the interviews?

4.) What are the candidate’s qualifications and experiences? Special Education? Title 1? Building-level administrator? Corporation-level administrator? Grant writing? Other?

5.) How will adding this administrator directly impact student achievement? Will he or she be working with students? If so, in what capacity?

6.) Where will the funds to pay this additional administrator come from? Are other corporations contributing to this? If not, why have they backed out?

7.) Will LAJSSC be contributing financially? If so, what percentage will it pay? If this administrator is partially paid by LAJSSC, will DCSC only get a portion of his/her time? What will happen if/when LAJSSC ceases to exist?

8.) What is DSCS’s total financial obligation? Salary? Benefits?

9.) If grants or other funds are going to be used, please specify which ones? What will happen if those funds are no longer available?

10.) If Title 1 funds are used, how will this impact the funds available for programs/staff that directly reach students, such as instructional coaches and interventionists?

11.) We have been told repeatedly that money is tight and there is none available for additional staff. How is adding a new administrative position more important than elementary art, middle school science, middle school resource room or high school physics? Please explain how this administrator will benefit our students more than these teachers would.

The next DCSC Board meeting will be July 9 at 7 p.m.

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