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MCCSC School Board
The MCCSC Board of School Trustees is an elected seven-member board.
The Board meets the second and fourth Tuesday of each month at 7:00 p.m. in the Board Room at the Administration Center at 315 E. North Drive.
The current members of the board include:
- Valerie Merriam
- Sue Wanzer
- Martha Street
- James Muehling
- Keith Klein
- Lois Sabo-Skelton
- Jeannine Butler
The board enacted several controversial decisions, closing county elementary schools Brown Elementary and Sanders Elementary, phasing out a contract bus driver system, and hiring superintendent Larry Rowedder at a salary many considered excessive.
In 1988 a slate of candidates, Herb Kilmer, Fred Huff, Ben Bruce, and Linda Lysher, calling themselves the "all-stars" challenged the incumbent members, claiming that the current board was overspending on administrative salaries. Others claimed that the all-stars had a hidden agenda of closing Bloomington North High School and returning Bloomington to a single high school. Either way, the all-stars spent heavily on the campaign and all won convincingly.
The new board began moving to minimize the importance of assistant school administrators, immediately, moving them off to one side at board meetings, hiring Tim Thrasher as treasurer, and discussing options to cut the number of assistants to two from four. Assistant superintendent Jim Harvey anticipated the board by accepting a job as a school superintendent near South Bend.
In addition, the board made decisions to hire attorney Robert Cambridge and architect Duane Odle. Incumbent board member Ernest Frazo voted against both appointments, suggesting that they gave the appearance of political payoffs after Odle and Cambridge had given money to the all-stars. The board, however, claimed that it had a preference for Bloomington appointments; Odle and Frazo both replaced Indianapolis residents.
Also, the board reinstated the contract bus driver policy. Seeing the writing on the wall, Rowedder began applying for other positions, eventually accepting a superintendency in North Carolina. His protege, assistant superintendent Ted Adams, also resigned his position, and within 18 months of the school board taking office, every top-level administrator of Rowedder and his predecessor had left the school corporation. In 1990, the board named Jack Bowman the next superintendent.
In 1990 board members William Moser and James Fleetwood were replaced by Harmon Baldwin and Steven Lill. Budget crunches over the next few years required some teacher layoffs, and capital expenditures of $18 million to rebuild Templeton Elementary and University Elementary drew criticism from Kilmer, who was uncomfortable with the price tag. In keeping with the board's policy of hiring Bloomington firms, some construction companies such as Whaley Construction were given contracts, but it was later determined that the board had erred in granting them. Further controversies arose as crowded schools resulted in large class sizes, and, exacerbating the problem, the moving of special education students to their home schools.
In addition to Huff, Bruce and Lysher were replaced by Lea Jaffee, Joan Hart and Karl Sturbaum. Issues of the time included overcrowding in the middle schools and continued budget woes. In May of 1993, the decision was made to build a new middle school, while leaving 6th graders in the elementary schools rather than moving them to the middle schools. That same year, the board voted to outlaw corporal punishment in the schools.
The following year, the board voted to change the board's voting districts to more equally divide the county population. Kilmer objected, saying he felt that rural parents would be underrepresented by the plan. Later that year Jack Bowman resigned the superintendency in favor of a similar position in Muncie.
Jon Stafford, Vickey Freeland and Steve Sharp were the newest council members, replacing Frazo, Lill and Baldwin. Chief of Police Steve Sharp had won an election, but declined to take his seat when it seemed likely that holding both positions would be considered illegal. In early 1995 John Coomer was named the new superintendent.
Redistricting was on the agenda again, as was the new middle school, a replacement for Grandview Elementary, and major reconstruction at Bloomington High School South. The board also had to find replacements for four principals: At Lakeview Elementary Normand Horn was retiring, and Highland Park Elementary principal Kathi Kelley went to Dearborn. At North, Dennis Martin had to leave due to health reasons, and Templeton Elementary's Jolinda Bove resigned. Also, Aurora High School opened, initially in a house on Adams Street but quickly moved to the old Cummins News warehouse.
The elections of 1996 featured a conservative slate of candidates, as the group Conservatives for Better Schools fielded the candidates Ronald Thompson, Doug Schmidt, Bob Burkett and David Weil. Many worried that the group planned to forward plans such as prayer in schools and the teaching of creationism, and the group was defeated en masse. Carolyn Craig and Tom Shafer joined the board, replacing Karl Sturbaum and Herb Kilmer. A proposal to move some neighborhoods from the South high school district to the North raised many hackles among loyal South graduates. Jackson Creek Middle School opened in the fall of 1998.
No school board seats were contested in 1998. Judith Rice moved from her district and was replaced by Cheryl Brown. A plan to harmonize North and South's schedules resulted in a surprising amount of discussion and controversy, and ultimately failed. Jon Stafford resigned from the board in frustration. A state report revealed that both schools were failing to meet minimum performance standards.
Three incumbents left and a fourth ran for reelection in 2000. A group known as the Committee for Education Excellence, apparently mostly local business owners and managers, endorsed a slate of candidates with a goal of providing a new strategic plan for the board. Only one of them was elected, however: Indiana University administrator Lynne Coyne. Sue Wanzer and Lindsay Boyd were elected to their first terms and Joan Hart was reelected.
On the agenda were renovations at North and Batchelor, and whether or not to discontinue Broadview. Highland Park Elementary School principal Mike Shipman was hired as director of curriculum and instruction, replacing Concetta Raimondi. Superintendent John Coomer retired in 2002, as did Betsy Walsh, principal of Binford. John Maloy was named the new superintendent that April. Donna Noble, wife of singer Timothy Noble was named principal at Jackson Creek Middle School.
In 2002 Dwight Noble, an board appointee, was replaced by Berit Brewer. The board moved to a three-year calendar rather than a single year, but the next year the school budget was cut by 5%, roughly 3 million dollars. Without many options other than reducing personnel, the board chose to cut 28 teaching positions and 28 other jobs. The construction budget being separate, the North and Batchelor renovations were approved along with a replacement of Broadview. Natalie Legan was hired as assistant principal for Childs Elementary and Tri-North Middle School and Janice Hazelrig as special education associate.
Joan Hart voted against Hazelrig's appointment, feeling that more teachers were needed rather than administrators. She also criticized the work of a special education task force, which included Teresa Grossi as a member. The district had 1,730 students in special education at that time.
In 2004, the board received a recommendation to not renew the contract of Kathy Rabold, who had been principal at Fairview for 18 years. After a public outcry her contract was extended for an additional year, but Rabold decided to retire anyway at the end of the school year. Four other principals also resigned: Sarah Franklin at North, Nan Plumer at Rogers, Victoria Rogers at Clear Creek, and Michi McClaine, interim principal at Binford. The five were replaced by Yvonne Aubin, Jim Rollins, Pam Wright, Tammy Miller, and ??? respectively. Also Associate Superintendent David Frye retired and was replaced by Lynn Black as director of strategic planning and development.
Joan Hart and Lynn Coyne did not run for re-election. Lois Sabo-Skelton joined the board after Lindsay Boyd, who originally planned to run, withdrew for personal reasons and after a challenge concerning his district residency. His name remained on the ballot and he took more votes than his opponent. Sue Wanzer was reelected and Jim Muehling and Teresa Grossi were elected to their first terms. Summit Elementary opened in 2005, and a major elementary school redistricting plan was adopted: 150 students were moved from Clear Creek to Summit, and 58 Park Ridge East students were moved from Binford to University, among other changes. A reduction of $800,000 in state funding resulted in the loss of 12 teaching positions.
Jim Rollins had to retire as North principal for health reasons, and was replaced by Jeffry Henderson. Karen Adams moved to Fairview from Marlin, and Jennifer Baker was named principal at Grandview. Cathy Diersing left Templeton to become director of reading services for the corporation, replacing Joan Weddle, who retired. Cheryl Smith became principal at Templeton, Chris Finley took over at Marlin, and Tarrey Banks at Rogers.
A redistricting plan was approved for the middle and high schools. The Grandview school district was moved from South to North, and over the objections of many parents, the Hyde Park and Kensington neighborhoods were moved from Jackson Creek to Tri-North for middle school.
Jim Rose, principal at Binford, Natalie Legan, interim principal at Lakeview, and her husband Kim Metcalf, director of assessment and gifted/talented, all resigned to take out-of-town jobs. Some Binford teachers recommended Yvonne Aubin to replace Rose, but some controversy arose over who they spoke for and whether the administration was retaliating against them. Various other issues arose with the administration and in 2006, the teacher's union, the Monroe County Education Association, formally requested the removal of Superintendent John Maloy.
Vickey Freeland and Cheryl Brown decided not to run. Valerie Merriam won out over Berit Brewer and Susan Daniels and Jeannine Butler won elections.