School Board welcomes new members, reorganizes for the coming year

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The Switzerland County School Board began a new year with some new faces on Monday night, as the board held a meeting to go through its state-mandated annual reorganization.

Public entities are required to hold a reorganizational meeting within the first 15 days of a new year.

Before various procedures, elections, and appointments could be made; the first order of business was to swear in four members to the board – two returnees and two new members.

Katie Collier, who represents Pleasant Township; and Josh Deck, who represents York Township, were sworn into four year terms after being reelected in November; while two new members: Tye Sullivan from the Town of Vevay and Amy Combs from Cotton Township, began terms for the first time.

School Board attorney Matt Hocker administered the oath; and the four members joined the other three board members – Jill Cord from Jefferson Township, Joe Bennett from Posey Township, and Greg Bosaw from Craig Township – for the first meeting of 2017.

Nominations were first accepted for Board President, where Cord nominated Collier to remain in that post, with Bosaw seconding the nomination. It was passed unanimously.

Current Board Vice President Deck was then reelected to another term, with Bennett making the nomination and Sullivan seconding it. Again, it passed unanimously.

Keeping with the trend, current Board Secretary Cord was then nominated for reelection to that post by Deck, with Bennett seconding the motion and it passing unanimously.

The board then went through a series of appointments; beginning with the reappointment of Wilma Swango as the Corporation’s Treasurer and Business Manager. Cindy Haskell was reappointed as the Deputy Treasurer of the corporation.

Hocker was reappointed as the School Board attorney.

The board set the third Monday of each month as the day for its regular meeting, which will be held at 6 p.m. in the administration building. Should the need arise for an executive session, those will be set as needed.

The board then turned its attention to compensation, a topic that aroused a great deal of interest from the community during the past year.

Again this year, board members will receive $112 for each regular meeting; $62 for each board-appointed committee meeting; and will receive a $2,000 per year salary. This is the same as it has been for the past several years.

But other compensation changed, particularly with regard to board members and health insurance. This year at reorganization, there was no offer of being a part of the corporation’s health insurance plan at all; but board members to have the option of participating in a $70,000 life insurance policy, a $70,000 accidental death and dismemberment policy; and there is a Social Security match of 7.65-percent, which is set by federal and state law and is based on board member salary compensation.

Bennett noted that the life insurance is separate from the corporation’s health insurance; and Superintendent Mike Jones noted that the rate was small, $80-$90 per year, based on the age of the board member taking the benefit.

“If a board member wanted to donate a portion back to, let’s say the school foundation, then they could do that?” Bennett asked.

Bennett then moved to approve the compensation, with Bosaw seconding the motion. The motion passed 6-1, with Collier voting no.

As President of the board, Collier then made a series of committee appointments:

– She appointed herself and Deck to the Negotiations Committee.

– Bennett and Bosaw were appointed to the Facilities and Grounds Committee.

– Members appointed to the Internal Review Committee were Cord and Bosaw.

– Collier will be the board’s liaison to the Indiana School Board Association; and she will also be the board’s representative working with the School Endowment Corporation.

– Sullivan will be the board’s representative to the Hall of Fame committee.

Sullivan and Combs signed Conflict of Interest statements, because they have immediate family members who work for the corporation.

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The school board also held its annual Board of Finance meeting, At that meeting, Collier and Cord were elected to the Board of Finance; and the board reviewed the corporation’s investment policy; reviewed the investment report; approved financial depositories used by the corporation; and the board was told that there are no outstanding checks at this time.