By Pam Robinson
Dr. Tom Kopatich, Superintendent of the MSD of Mount Vernon, requested a moment of silence for the Robb family, in particular the late Bailey Robb, a freshman at Mount Vernon High School. Three members of the Robb family, including Bailey, died during a tragic accidental house fire early this year.
Since the terms expired of the three Mount Vernon school board officers on December 31, Kopatich then called the meeting to order and conducted the election of officers after at-large board members were sworn in. Loren Evans, notary public, administered the oath of office to re-elected school board member, Beth McFadin Higgins, and newly elected member, Clarence Nelson. Following the oath of office, Higgins and Nelson signed the oath of office certificates. Higgins is beginning her third term on the school board. Nelson is serving his first term.
Immediately following, a unanimous election of officers took place: Kathy Weinzapfel, president; Beth McFadin Higgins, vice-president; Heather Allyn, secretary. Then, Weinzapfel assumed her role and conducted the remainder of the meeting.
The five board members now include President Kathy Weinzapfel, Vice President Beth McFadin Higgins, Secretary Heather Allyn, Brian Jeffries and Clarence Nelson. They have all agreed once more to conduct meetings on the first and third Monday of each month at 5:45 p.m. in the junior high media center, under the condition the board may adjust meeting dates and times when necessary.
Accepting the same 5.5 percent pay cut as MSD of Mount Vernon employees, board members voted to accept the same compensation as last year: $1,889 per year, $106 for the second regular meeting of each month, and $59 for special meetings. Well below the IRS mileage reimbursement allowance of 56.5 cents, the school board mileage allowance stays the same as in 2012–44 cents. The in-district mileage chart was also adjusted for those who must travel to another location after driving to (and from) their place of employment at their own expense.
As for many years, Mary Buchanan was appointed treasurer of the MSD of Mount Vernon while Loren Evans was appointed deputy treasurer (period of January 1 through December 31, 2013). The law firm of Van Haaften and Farrar will serve as legal counsel for the school corporation during 2013 at an hourly rate of $165 unless the lawyer assigned for the services receives a lower rate.
The board adopted a resolution permitting the use of signature images to sign check by the treasurer and deputy treasurer, Mary Buchanan and Loren Evans, for the school district. Another resolution permits the use of signature images to sign checks by the treasurer and deputy treasurer, Thelma Sebree and Betty Mann, for the School Lunch Extracurricular Account.
The board granted permission to write some checks in advance of board meetings—a best practice and good business procedure for many years. When necessary, this action allows the school district to take advantage of discounts and to make advance payments of current vouchers when necessary to serve the best interests of the school corporation.
A resolution was passed to authorize each person who has responsibility for a specific account to manage that account. These accounts and persons include: MSD of Mount Vernon, Mary Buchanan and Loren Evans; MSD School Lunch Extracurricular Account, Betty Mann and Thelma Sebree; MVHS, Tom Russell or Chad Rodgers and Susan Reynolds or Debra Dick; Athletic Fund, Gary Redman and Debra Dick or Susan Reynolds; MVJHS, Kyle Jones or Jerad Shockley and Dianna Reeves; Farmersville Elementary, David Frye and Deborah Isham; Marrs Elementary, Greg DeWeese and Kathi Small; and West Elementary, Paul Swanson and Shelley Goad.
Another resolution was adopted to authorize the school district treasurer to invest surplus funds and to establish investment income accounts for the receipt of said interest income for calendar year 2013.
Near the end of the meeting, personnel matters were managed by vote. Resignations were accepted from Julie Suedmeyer as Fiscal Operations Administrator for the Safe Schools/Healthy Students Grant, effective Jan. 28, 2013, and from 19-year veteran to the school corporation, Jim Valentine, as Information Systems Specialist, effective Feb. 15, 2013. On the other hand, the employment of Laura Kirtmann was confirmed as a school psychologist, beginning Jan. 2, 2013. Kirtmann is stepping into the position vacated by the previous school psychologist, not a newly created position.
Matters regarding personnel concluded the meeting. The board accepted the superintendent’s investigatory administrative leave with pay of teacher, Mrs. Lori Higgins. The leave began on Jan. 2, 2013, and continues until completion of the investigative process or other resolution of this matter. Immediately following this action, the board granted Katelyn Offerman a professional leave of absence as a teacher assistant to take a long-term substitute teaching position in first grade at Marrs Elementary School, effective Jan. 2, 2013.
The board will meet again Monday, January 21, 2013, 5:45 p.m. in the junior high media center. This meeting will take place on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day although school will be out (unless a snow makeup day is required).
By Pam Robinson
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