‘Who’s responsible?’ is asked of school board

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With the Switzerland County School Board holding its first meeting since the discovery of nearly $1 million missing from school funds, Monday night’s board meeting at Switzerland County Elementary School was efficient and focused – but that still led to a member of the public asking the board a pointed question.

During public comments, resident Judy Martin told the school board that her son-in-law works for an insurance company that also supplies policies for staff members, and that he had made the comment that if that amount of funds was discovered to be missing in his company, those in charge would be held responsible.

“I want to know if this man here is responsible for keeping watch of the money that’s missing?” she asked the board while pointing at superintendent Tracy Caddell.

The board, as is its policy, does not respond to public comments; but during his superintendent’s report at the end of the meeting, Tracy Caddell did respond.

“As of April 30th, 2007, our bank balance is $3,195,370,” the superintendent said. “I think there’s a feeling that checks may not be good and bills aren’t paid. I can tell you that’s not the case. Programs will go on. Teachers will continue to teach.

“We’re going to do everything that we can to get back the childrens’ and the taxpayers’ money that belongs to the Switzerland County School Corporation. I do take responsibility, and I can also tell you that I’m working as hard as possible to get this situation corrected.”

In a related matter during the meeting, the resignation of corporation treasurer Ann Geyman was not acted on, but instead the school board voted unanimously to terminate the employment of Ann Geyman, “for gross misconduct.”

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In other business discussed by the school board:

- Because the school corporation is undergoing an audit by the state board of accounts, the financial report and the claims were tabled for the month.

- David Todd was hired as the new assistant principal and athletic director at the high school. He replaces Kent Dunning, who resigned to accept the principal’s job at Corydon Central High School.

– Jefferson-Craig Elementary School principal Darrell Hansel announced his retirement. He will remain with the school corporation in a part time capacity dealing with “No Child Left Behind” compliance, will be the coordinator of the Title I program; and will serve as the elementary attendance officer.

- The school board approved a separation agreement with middle school science teacher Jon Maxwell.

– Requests to the endowment corporation were approved.

- The resignations of Tara Justice as the middle school volleyball coach, the middle school Spell Bowl coach, and the middle school Builders Club leader were accepted.

– The employment of custodian Robert Jason O’Day was terminated.