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Personnel Matter Left Out of CAB Discussion
March 14, 2007 - While the Charles A. Beard Memorial School Board dealt with a number of personnel-related issues at its February 20 meeting, one particular matter once again received no mention at all. In January, CAB physical education teacher Perry Nash was suspended with pay by Superintendent David McGuire. According to a formal letter of reprimand McGuire issued to Nash on February 9, the teacher had been suspended for attending an event at Purdue University where he was photographed "consuming or appearing to consume alcohol" with former Knightstown High School students under the age of 21.
McGuire's letter of reprimand to Nash, a CAB employee since 2004, was part of an agreement signed that same day by McGuire, Nash and Tom Crawford, a CAB teacher and president of the corporation's Classroom Teachers Association. Under the terms of the agreement, Nash, who was also an assistant basketball coach and track coach, was to submit a letter of resignation that would take effect at the end of the school year.
Although allowed to continue working for CAB until the end of June, Nash was not allowed to return to his PE teaching position and coaching duties. Instead, the agreement called for him to be reassigned to CAB's central office where he would "work on assignments deemed appropriate by the superintendent," while still receiving his regular rate of pay.
The February 20 meeting was the fifth public meeting the CAB School Board had held since Nash was first suspended with pay. As had been the case with the previous four meetings, however, this personnel matter was not a subject of discussion and the school board took no action to approve either the initial paid suspension or the agreement reached with Nash on February 9.
In personnel matters that were addressed, the school board voted at the February 20 meeting to extend the contract of CAB Athletic Director Dave Bradford an additional year and approved Theresa Hibbert as the full-time treasurer at KHS. The board also approved a resolution removing the names of former Treasurer Judy Barnes and former Business Manager Amanda Zurwell from the list of signatures authorized to sign checks for CAB; David Bundy, who resigned from the school board last month to become the new business manager, will replace them as CAB's signatory.
The board received and accepted a letter of resignation from Brenda Reece, who had been the secretary-treasurer at Knightstown Elementary School. Daphne Thackery, a Carthage Title I kindergarten teacher, was approved to temporarily replace another kindergarten teacher who is expected to be on maternity leave through the end of April.
In sports-related personnel matters, the board approved Mike Wyatt and Tracy Miller, respectively, as volunteers with the boys varsity and junior high golf programs. Kelton Silver was approved as a volunteer assistant coach for the KHS varsity softball team, and a letter of resignation was received and accepted from Matt Shafer, an assistant coach for the KHS boys varsity basketball team. Panther football coach Bob Prescott was approved as a track coach at KHS.
In other matters, the school board received an update on the "Chocolate Challenge" reading event at Kennard Elementary. Principal Shirley Heck was joined by students Annie Moore, Isaiah Mitchell, Clementina Mitchell, Spencer Roberts, Ethan Roberts, and Sadie Roberts, who, along with their parents, briefly addressed the board and discussed different aspects of the program.
McGuire singled out several people for special recognition, including recent applicants for two school board vacancies and Jennifer Wilfong, a Knightstown graduate who is on the Silver Anniversary team being recognized this year by the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame. Others recognized were students Logan Cox and Kathleen Weiland (winners of the DAR Good Citizenship essay contest), the undefeated KHS boys freshman basketball team and Coach Darren Haines, and staff members Jane Selvidge, Frances Oakes and Diana Schombert for, McGuire said, "going above and beyond their duties."
The school board accepted bids from Wooldridge Farms to lease nearly 57 acres of farm ground from CAB near KHS and Kennard Elementary at $185 an acre over the next three years. While Wooldridge had the highest bid for the 6.9 acres at the Kennard site, the highest bid for the approximately 50 acres near KHS was Steve Souder's unaccepted offer of $189.75 an acre.
McGuire advised the board that preliminary results showed that four of CAB's five schools met the student performance benchmark known as Adequate Yearly Progress. He said KHS may not have met AYP because a sufficient number of special education students had not passed the annual ISTEP-Plus exam, a result he said was not unexpected.
KHS senior Dakota James, student council president, updated the board on several recent events at the high school. The board also heard from Jeff Johnson, pastor at Cadiz Christian Church, about his proposed development of a youth center or other youth-oriented program for the Kennard community. Board members Debi Ware and Ron Womack told Johnson they were willing to serve on an exploratory committee that would look at different options and their feasibility.
Near the end of the board meeting, Womack praised McGuire for his open communication with the board and public, which he said was "second to none." Womack said he had heard "nothing but positive comments" about the new superintendent's approach and said, "This has been a very positive thing for our community."
As a way of keeping lines of communication open with the communities served by CAB, Womack also proposed that the board consider scheduling public work sessions or roundtable discussions, with McGuire serving as a moderator. Womack said he thought this would facilitate the board's ability to get input from the public on a variety of issues.
Board member Kevin Knott said he liked Womack's suggestion. He said he thought that the meetings should be often enough to be effective, but not so frequent as to be redundant.
"It's a good idea," Board President Mike Fruth agreed. "We can never get too much feedback … from parents and patrons."
The next public meeting of the CAB School Board will be Tuesday, March 20, at 7:30 p.m. in the central office building, 345 N. Adams St., Knightstown.
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