North Putnam contract, calendar issues see conflict
ROACHDALE -- Beginning its monthly session half an hour later than usual, the North Putnam School Board tackled three issues which saw further disagreement.
First, the board approved one-year contract extensions for North Putnam’s school building administrators. However, there was less of a consensus in approving limited term contracts for Director of Operations Terry Tippin and Athletic Director Roger Busch.
A separate motion to not renew Busch’s contract for the next year was then introduced. Board President Ron Spencer clarified that this would not remove Busch as an at-will employee.
The motion died for a lack of majority, with the understanding being that Busch was not effectively terminated. On the other hand, Tippin’s limited term contract was extended.
This issue was a development of disagreements the board had last month concerning both the administrators’ contracts and accompanying pay increases. The hesitance relates with how school could look come August, in which a dramatic decrease in enrollment would negatively affect funding.
There was further separation with proposed adjustments to the 2020-21 school calendar. Superintendent Nicole Singer stated it was necessary to capture specific vacation days for distance learning, because it was possible that school will be a mixture with in-person learning.
This was related to another request to establish Aug. 5 as a scheduled work day, in place of a floating day between July 27 and then. It is hoped at this point that school will start on Aug. 10. The majority of the board approved both requests.
Confusion also surfaced on a vote to cancel early release on Wednesday. Board member Amber Greene stated that she had motioned to reinstate early release during last month’s board meeting, which in turn rescinded a prior approval to establish time for professional development.
Last month’s minutes did not suggest that Greene included the early release with a request to return teachers’ workday from 7:50 a.m. to 3:20 p.m. Even with this, the cancellation was a move to give teachers more time to devote to lesson plans. The board approved the motion.
In other business:
• Bainbridge Elementary Principal Rodney Simpson was approved as North Putnam’s Title I program administrator for the 2020-21 school year.
• The board approved to accept students transferring to North Putnam prior to whenever the student populations will be counted. Usually, the Indiana Department of Education has set two student count days, one in September and the other in February.
However, Singer said uncertainty with returning to school could change this. This would affect average daily membership, or ADM, which determines much of the funding public school systems receive from the state.
• Despite the agenda item being to accept the resignation of Choir Director Jason Lafever, Singer recommended that the board not do so. While the board voted to not accept Lafever’s resignation, it did approve to cancel his contract in another action item.
It was not made clear whether Lafever is the teacher considered under investigation for alleged “inappropriate” contact with students at North Putnam High School. North Putnam administrators were made aware of the allegations back on June 9.
The board also approved the following personnel report:
• New hires: Ryan Burress - high school teacher/head football coach; Laren Sanford - high school assistant football coach; Cameron Brothers - high school assistant football coach; Chris Brewer - middle school assistant football coach; Kim Curran - NPMS/NPHS concessions manager; Brent Connor - sixth-grade basketball coach; Kent Hoops - sixth-grade basketball coach; Earl Hall - seventh-grade head basketball coach; Morgan Smith - eighth-grade head volleyball coach; Bradi Gierke - high school assistant coach; Vince Brooks high school summer strength and conditioning coach; and Pamela Bacon - high school English teacher (covering a leave);
• Resignations: Nicki Ash - Roachdale Elementary instructional assistant (effective end of the 2019-20 school year); Lauren Alspaugh - high school director of guidance (effective June 10); David Moeller - high school math teacher (effective June 11); and Linda Patrick - high school girls’ head golf coach (effective June 10).
The next regular meeting of the North Putnam School Board is scheduled for Thursday, July 16.