The Switzerland County School Board held its final meeting of 2013 on Monday night, and at the end of the session, school board member Vern Waltz made an announcement.
That would be his final meeting as a school board member.
Vern Waltz, who represents Posey Township on the school board, has served for the past seven years, and the seat is to be up for election in November of next year.
But he just felt that now was the time to leave.
“We are going to be moving out of the district,” Vern Waltz said on Monday. “We have owned a home in Rising Sun for a couple of years. We’re getting too old to live on this hill, and the snow and ice just about does us in anymore. And it’s just too much to take care of here on the hill. We’ve been trying to sell this house for about three years, and we did, so it’s time to go.”
Vern Waltz said that all of he and wife Mary Ellen’s kids are in the Rising Sun area, so the move also gets them closer to family.
“I would have like to have served another year,” he said. “But sometimes you just have to do things when it’s the time to do it. So, I’m not mad at anybody. I’m tickled to death with all of the years I’ve had in Switzerland County. Everybody’s been great to me. I’ll always be a Pacer at heart.”
Vern Waltz is originally from the Brookville, Indiana, area, and after graduation he attended Ball State University to earn his bachelor’s degree. He also did graduate work at Ball State and also at Indiana University.
He started his teaching career in Harrison, Ohio, where he taught for four years before he moved on to North Dearborn. From there he moved to the Lawrenceburg School System, and after that he went to the Southeastern Career Center, where he served as the Principal.
“That was my first administrative job,” Vern Waltz said of the Career Center. “That was 1988. I was there 10 years and then I was out for a short while before I came here.”
He came to Switzerland County as the Principal of the high school in 2000, a position he held for two years before taking on responsibilities as a part-time assistant administrator when Derek Marshall served as principal.
He has served on the School Board for the past seven years.
“I’ve had 42 years in the school business, and I’ve had a lot of fun. I’ve enjoyed it. I’ve had wonderful students. I’ve had a lot of great friends, but I told them ‘I don’t want them to carry me out of the school board meeting to the morgue!'”
While on the school board, Vern Waltz is very proud of the accomplishments that have been achieved during his tenure.
“Look at the tremendous strides that I’ve seen in Switzerland County since I’ve been here,” he said. “Over about a 13 years period, it’s just amazing, especially in facilities. My thinking was from the beginning with this riverboat money, anything we can get for our kids, we’re going to get it. You can’t just save it. These kids deserve it. Next year’s kids deserve it. If you just save it, we’ll just end up giving it back to the State of Indiana and it will go someplace else, it won’t stay here. That’s been my theory from day one.
“They’re not going to take the computers out of the school. They’re not going to take our ball diamonds down,” Vern Waltz continued. “They’re not going to tear our bleachers down or tear up our track, because once they’re here, they’re ours. As far as I’m concerned, we’ve taken Switzerland County physically up with the rest of the world. I’ve seen a lot of changes, and I’m happy with what we’ve done.”
And his central philosophy while serving on the school board?
“The only thing that ever mattered to me was for good things to happen for the kids of Switzerland County,” Vern Waltz said. “It’s just that simple. I hope that I’ve made a difference.”
So, he leaves with mixed emotions, pausing during his resignation letter at Monday night’s meeting to compose himself at times, but at age 73, Vern Waltz knows that he’s made the right decision for he and his family.
“We’re going to miss living here, but we’re not going out too far and we’ll be back to visit, but it’s just time for me to step aside.”
His resignation officially takes effort on December 31st.
So how does the school board seat get filled?
School Board attorney Matt Hocker said that the responsibility of filling the vacant seat falls to the remaining six members of the school board.
Under the school corporation’s policy, the board has 30 days to act on filling the seat. An official announcement will be put in the newspaper asking for interested persons to apply, and those interested must meet residency requirements of living in the Posey Township district.
The board will review all applications for the position, and then can choose to interview and appoint the new board member, or the board can elect another person, as long as they meet residency standards
By state statute, if the board chooses not to fill the position within 30 days of the resignation, the duty of filling the post would fall to Circuit Court Judge Greg Coy.
Superintendent Mike Jones said that he hopes to move quickly to fill the position, with a goal of having the new school board member in place by the board’s January 24th meeting.