Portion of Oregon-Davis School Board Opposes Administrative Restructuring Plan

The Oregon-Davis School Board addressed a proposed administrative restructuring plan once again when members met Monday night.

When the plan was first publically presented at a meeting in June, Superintendent Dr. Don Harman proposed filling the Jr./Sr. High Principal’s position himself while retaining his superintendent’s duties. At that time, he noted that his salary of $95,000 would not be increased.

The proposed restructuring also included establishing Agriculture Teacher Andrew Carlin as the Assistant Principal and Math Teacher Jerry Miller as Athletic Director. Both individuals currently hold administrative licenses. They would continue their teaching duties for a portion of the day.

Monday night, Dr. Harman shared that Miller and Carlin would each receive an annual salary of $60,000 for 210 days of work.

The initial proposal also included that Guidance Counselor B.J. Awald would assist with teacher evaluations. However, that portion was removed from the plan that school board members considered most recently.

Before getting to the item on the agenda, school officials heard from the public about the topic.

Indiana State Teachers Association UniServ Director Andy Borrelli spoke first. He mentioned that he attended the Oregon-Davis as a student and spoke about representing the corporation for the ISTA.

Andy Borrelli Addressing School Board and Meeting Attendees

Borrelli explained that he covers nine different corporations in the area and said O.D. has the lowest paid teachers of the schools he represents.

He mentioned that while the restructuring plan may seem different than what everyone is used to, it would present an opportunity for the corporation to save approximately $110,000.

Borrelli said, “If you save that money and you’re able to improve the compensation of your certified employees and your education support professionals, I think you’re going to get a better return on that investment than you are having a full administrative team.”

Parent Luke Bradley also spoke during the public comment section of the meeting and provided members with a handout.

It included recommendations about recruitment and retention that a group of community members came up with to present to the board for consideration.

When it came time to consider the administrative plan, board member Brandie Ecker asked that it be discussed prior to a motion being made.

Superintendent Don Harman provided a brief synopsis, readdressing the recommended positions. He added that this was not a permanent solution and that it would be regularly re-evaluated in the coming school year.

Board member Kyle Hinds reiterated some concerns he brought up at the last meeting, noting that he was worried about splitting the focus of the superintendent’s and principals’ positions.

He said he would prefer if the superintendent focused on some of the other ideas that have been presented about retention and attraction. Hinds added that he agreed with Borelli that O.D. teachers deserve a raise but stated that he thought there were other ways to save money.

Member Ecker echoed those reservations and added that she felt consistency in the administrative position was critical to students, staff and community members.

Oregon-Davis School Board

She shared her opinion, “One person being that job all day, in the building is important so that people know who they go to at all times.”

Ecker continued, “I think it’s important for people outside the building to know that there’s one person who’s the point person for that building and it’s the same person all day.”

Board President Christopher Lawrence said he was initially hesitant about the idea but later realized it was the best solution for the time being. He also noted that it’s been more than 10 years since the school had enough money to be able to provide additional compensation to teachers and it’s long over due.

Vice-President Annette Ferch added that registration is right around the corner and they need to have someone in charge. She made a motion to approve the 2019-2020 Jr./Sr. High School Administration Plan.

Her motion was supported by Board President Lawrence.  After three opposing votes were cast by members Kurt Hayes, Hinds and Ecker, Lawrence announced that the motion failed 2-3.

Due to the outcome, an executive session to discuss collective bargaining that was scheduled after the meeting was canceled at the recommendation of Superintendent Harman with the support of the board members.  

Dr. Harman said he would coordinate with Corporation Treasurer Nikki Salazar to reevaluate the situation.