The Southeast Dubois School Board officially named the successor to long-time Ferdinand Elementary School Principal Lee Begle during Wednesday night’s board meeting.
Begle had announced earlier this year he was ending his forty-plus year career in the Southeast System, effective at the end of this school year. Board President Kent Uebelhor acknowledged a strong interest in the principal’s position, with over twenty applicants seeking the job. Approximately half a dozen received an initial interview, before four finalists were brought to a special board meeting two weeks ago for a final interview.
Uebelhor stated it was a tough decision, as each candidate had strong points. He noted ultimately, the student’s best interests were the top factor in the final decision. Superintendent Rick Allen then announced that Stacy Kitchin, the curriculum director with the Tell City-Troy Township Schools, was the choice to succeed Begle as Ferdinand Elementary Principal. The board voted unanimously to offer Kitchin the job. According to Allen, one point in Kitchin’s favor was the number of teacher evaluations she has conducted over the past couple of years.
During the public comment segment of the meeting, Sara Rogers, an instructional assistant, and two of her colleagues questioned the board on recent decisions to reduce their hours to 28 ¾ per week. The women understood the why- due to impact of the Affordable Care Act, but were hoping to be a part of the discussion process, not have to wait until afterward.
According to Uebelhor, the timeframe to make such decisions was so tight, they didn’t have the chance to extend the discussion period, as would normally be the case. He stated the school system is already running very close to the edge of paying significant dollars to the IRS if they exceed a certain amount of hours. Outside attorneys had advocated reducing hours to 28 per week or less, but the board chose to go 28 ¾ to maintain the staff as best as possible. Uebelhor said the corporation may still have to pay a considerable amount if they cross certain guidelines, but also stated the board would stay involved in the process and if the federal government makes changes this summer that would benefit employees, the school would also make adjustments.
In other business, the board, on the recommendation of Food Service Director Lee Begle, voted to hold the line on lunch and breakfast prices for the upcoming school year. Elementary lunches will cost $1.75, with Jr. High and High School lunches remaining at $1.90. Adult lunches will be priced at $2.75 for the 2013-14 school year. Breakfast prices remain $1.25 at the elementary level and $2 for adults.
Finally, a trio of donations were accepted by board members. The Dale State Agency contributed $1000 to the Forest Park Awards program, while Dubois County Farm Bureau put $1000 toward the Forest Park FFA. A Project Lead the Way class received a $75 donation from the Purdue Club of Dubois County.