2018-07-11 / Front Page

DCSC fills controversial corporation administrative position

By Debbie Lowe
Staff writer

The Delphi Community School Board approved hiring someone Monday night to fill a position which did not exist until she was interviewed for the Elementary School Principal position earlier this year. The vote to approve Alisan Clayton as a Special Education Supervisor,

Title Grant Coordinator and Testing Coordinator was tabled at the June 11 meeting. The Delphi Classroom Teachers’ Association (DCTA) objected to the establishment of the position at that meeting. A list of questions was given to every board member by DCTA President Tim Conner in June.

Conner addressed the school board Monday night as well. He advised the Neola Policy, which is purchased for the school corporation and adopted by the school board, was not followed. The policy states that “vacancies shall be announced and all members of the professional staff shall be eligible for any Corporation vacancy, providing they are properly qualified.” The policy also states, “the Board will interview two (2) candidates recommended by a search committee representing the Corporation and community for … the Central Office…”

Conner referred to a letter written on behalf of DCTA to the school board two years ago in which DCTA took issue with losing the art program at the Elementary School.

“Hopefully, this program will be reinstated as soon as possible,” the letter read. “It would be a shame to lose students due to the lack of an elementary art program.”

Superintendent Greg Briles and board president Steve Myer told the Comet after the meeting that in fact, Clayton was interviewed by staff, board members and the public in January, February and March of this year. They said the position was posted by the Logansport Area Joint Special Services Cooperative (LAJSSC) and originally was to be a position which would serve both DCSC and the Carroll Consolidated School Corporation. However, Carroll decided not to participate. The DCSC board voted to adopt a resolution to dissolve the LAJSSC agreement with them Monday night.

Myer said the Neola Policy is a set of “guidelines” and that attorney Nick Otis said the board did not always have to follow them.

Board member Kirk Schwarzkopf told the Comet Tuesday he does not believe the board followed the proper process to hire for the position, although he believes Clayton will be a beneficial addition to the corporation staff. Schwarzkopf voted against the hire.

He said the board interviewed Clayton for the principal position only.

“She was not interviewed for the LAJSSC position,” he said.

Board member Neal Anderson, who voted in favor of the hire, said he agrees with Schwarzkopf that the proper process was not followed. Board member Gil Smith, who also voted to hire Clayton, indicated before the vote Clayton does not have a background in Special Education. Briles said she will have a LAJSSC mentor.

Conner said Clayton will make $72,000 before benefits, which is much more than some teachers make in salary.

“I just can’t believe it,” he told the board.

He also chided the Board and the superintendent for claiming there is no money for an art teacher in the Middle and Elementary schools.

“There’s money there when someone wants to spend it,” Conner said.

Briles advised the board Clayton has already attended training in June, before she was hired. He told the Comet after the meeting he sent her to the training and that it did not cost anything.

Early dismissal schedule

The Board approved early dismissal times for all students next school year, 2018- 2019. The schedule will allow time for professional development for teachers in each building. Early dismissals will occur each Wednesday school is in session.

The Camden Early Childhood Center will dismiss at 1:30 p.m. every Wednesday. The Delphi Community Elementary School will dismiss at 2:15 p.m. and the Middle School and High School will dismiss at 2:30 p.m. every Wednesday next year.

Other business

The board will vote at the Aug. 13 meeting on the proposed contract for the superintendent, which is a three-year commitment and could extend until 2026 if not ended before.

The corporation was awarded a $142,032 Lilly grant for the 2018-2019 school year, which will pay for various programs.

Corporation treasurer Allison Farrell provided a comprehensive financial report, which included account balances for each fund and a projection of year-end amounts. A copy of the report can be obtained from the Corporation Office.

The next meeting will be Aug. 13 at 7 p.m.

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