Board unanimously approves recommended cuts
Milan teacher asks for job back

Beth Rumsey
Staff Writer

Milan High School Spanish teacher Leslie Vertz requested a public conference regarding her termination. The board heard from this conference at the regular school board meeting on Monday, April 19.

Vertz was represented by Indiana State Teacher Association Attorney Jim Singer who provided a packet of information, which included the letter stating determining factors for Vertz’s termination. There were also evaluations that had been conducted during her two-year stay at Milan.

According to Singer, Vertz’s initial evaluations received ratings of outstanding and satisfactory. An evaluation taken in November 2009 showed only two areas, such as lesson planning, that needed improvement. An evaluation given in March 2010 indicated eight out of ten criteria were satisfactory.
As part of the Indiana Mentoring Assistance Program, Vertz was to complete an assessment, which would then provide feedback in areas needing improvement, according to Singer. He noted that Vertz neither received any feedback nor was there any indication of problems from Principal Rich Healy.
Vertz and Singer requested the board reconsider her termination and allow her to continue with her work as a Spanish instructor at the school.

Randy Kirk motioned to table the decision of non renewal of the contract for Vertz to allow more time to review the information provided by Singer. The motion failed due to the lack of a second. The board approved the recommendation of non renewal of the contract with a vote of 4-1 with Kirk voting no.
Other non renewal of contracts unanimously approved included Rachelle Cole, Josh Blankenship, and Kristina Heitmyer. Non certified resignations accepted included Nancy Hershman, Michelle Franklin and Tara Ward.

The board unanimously approved the recommended cuts proposed at a special meeting on April 12. Some of the recommendations included reducing non-certified, with the exception of transportation and food service employees, wages/salaries by six percent; freeze all wages and benefits for food service and bus employees; terminate the speech language assistant position; and freeze administrative salaries at the July 1, 2008 level.

In other business:

• The request from athletic director John Prifogle to hold a girls basketball camp was unanimously approved.

• The Milan Educators Association contract, which could incur a savings of about $90,000 was unanimously approved.

• Alex Walter will be recognized at a luncheon for his selection as an Academic All-Star by the Indianapolis Star.

• A Rising Sun Regional Foundation grant was received and will be used towards the implementation of new software for the new school year.

All board members were in attendance. The next meeting will be held on Monday, May 17 beginning at 7 p.m. at the elementary cafeteria.