Home | Archive | Place Classified | Subscribe | Where to Buy | About | Contact

Search only Ripley News

November 13, 2012

Milan bus drivers express concerns at meeting

Cindy Ward
Staff Writer

Revisions to the employee handbook have stirred some controversy, at least for two bus drivers who came to voice their opinions during the regular monthly meeting of the Milan Community School Corporation Board of School Trustees held Monday, October 22.

Present were board members Gregory Lewis, Edward Amberger, Timothy Tuttle, Linda Baker, and Randy Kirk, along with Superintendent Dr. Tom Reale.

Veteran bus drivers, Linda Hyde and Debra Hackman, addressed the board with concerns they had over revisions being made to the classified employee handbook regarding bus drivers. Hyde has been driving for Milan for 18 years, while Hackman has been with the corporation for 11 years. They stated that in line 8 of the job description that Southeastern Career Center bus drivers must accept substitute bus driver assignments if that is the only route they have.

They said that they had sent a request to John Ferguson, director of operations, and Dr. Reale requesting the line be removed from the description, to which they received a letter from Dr. Reale denying the request. Both Hyde and Hackman expressed concern that if they turned down an assignment to drive as a substitute bus driver, they would be fired. They read the letter that they received in response to their request from Dr. Reale.

"This tells me that if you (Dr. Reale) need me to run route 10 and I say no, then you can fire me," said Hyde, adding that she and Hackman feel as if they are being singled out and harassed.

Dr. Reale explained that they misunderstood the letter and that they would not be fired for turning down an assignment. However, by turning down an assignment, they would be surrendering their positions.

Hyde responded by saying that they were not being paid to be on call every day, and questioned why none of the other drivers were mandated to be substitutes and asked to be ‘grandfathered' as exempt from this one line of the description.

Another concern they had was not being called to substitute at the beginning of the school year when another driver was out sick for several days, adding that a driver who had just gotten her license during the previous summer was asked to cover the route.

Dr. Reale responded by saying that Hyde and Hackman had recently told Ferguson not to call them to substitute for regular routes, because they were not interested.

Hyde and Hackman also questioned why they were not permitted to take their buses home, as all other drivers, including special needs drivers, are permitted to do.

Dr. Reale recommended approval of the classified employee handbook that was passed out during the September meeting for review. Due to the controversy regarding line 8 of the handbook, a motion was approved to table the handbook so the board could take the subject and comments under additional advisement.

Karen Schmitt, middle school instructional aide, addressed the board about arranging a question-and-answer session for school board candidates. Kirk explained that all the candidates had been invited to participate in a public forum by the Ripley County Chamber of Commerce.

Dr. Reale stated that a first reading of a revision to policy #8020 took place during the September meeting saying that the Corporation would be responsible for the cost of extended criminal background checks for approved newly hired employees. Kirk expressed concern, by saying this is something that has not been done in the past and wanted to know why now. Tuttle explained that it was good business practice and would only apply to those people who are actually hired, not all applicants. The motion carried 5-0.

Dr. Reale presented the evaluation tools for certified employees to the board for approval, with the recommendation of the following models: 1 - Bluffton-Harrison teacher evaluation and development plan for teachers; 2 - Professional school counselor rubric for the counselors; 3 - School librarian evaluation rubric for the media director; 4 - ECSEC speech rubric for the speech therapist; 5 - RISE principal effectiveness framework for the principals; and 6 - Indiana superintendent evaluation process for the superintendent.

It was noted by Dr. Reale that the proposed teacher evaluation model complied with the state RISE requirements, but was amended to suit the needs of the school. Kirk questioned the changes from the state RISE model and the Bluffton-Harrison model and asked if teachers would still be required to attend the RISE training. It was explained that the student learning objective had been removed to alleviate some of the burden on teachers. The motion carried 4-0-1, with Kirk not voting.

In other news:

• The minutes of the public hearing and the regular meeting on September 17; the executive session on October 1, and the work session on October 15, were unanimously approved.

• The budget, levies and rates for 2013, as originally presented and advertised, were approved.

• A request from teachers to take 18 members of the high school student council to the Indianapolis Convention Center on November 3-4 for the student council convention was approved.

• The following fundraising requests were approved: - the girls' basketball teams to sell Christmas wreaths and greenery from Cool Springs Nursery - Spanish Club to sell pizza to students after school for the rest of the school year; - FFA to sell fruit and other items from the Florida Farm Bureau and coaches of the winter sports teams and team members to sell peelers.

• The following lease agreements were approved: Youth Wrestling League will use the wrestling room from 5:45 p.m. - 8:15 p.m., October 15, through March 15, at no charge; The Good News Club to use the elementary building, at no charge; and PeeWee Football League to use the high school cafeteria for their awards night at a cost of $75.00.

• A conference request from Appie Thompson was approved to attend the 2012 School Nurses' Conference in Indianapolis.

• The financial report was read with a motion made by Kirk to approve vendor checks #35234 through #35330, payroll checks #23127 through #23323, deposit advice # 38582 through #38824, and the financial report. The motion carried.

In the superintendent's report, Dr. Reale presented a high school class-size report with class numbers higher than 28 or less than 12 students. He said he has been working with the principal and guidance department to try and get a better balance for the second semester.

Reale also presented the results and recommended changes from an energy audit that was performed at the middle and high school recently. The audit was performed by an organization called "Energizing Indiana."

It was recommended to proceed with the short-term and medium-term options, which would yield a 35-percent savings with the anticipation of a payback within three years. Tuttle proposed taking a slow approach and establishing a good plan before implementation. No action was taken at this time.

In personnel news:

• Dr. Reale reported that he had accepted a letter of intent to retire at the end of the 2012-13 school year from Richard Dobson. He also noted that Renee Jackson had resigned her position as an instructional aide at the elementary school, effective October 5. A motion was made by Lewis to approve Lisa Ludwig for the aide's position vacated by Jackson. The motion carried.

• The board approved Brian Owens as the girls reserve basketball coach and Kelly Stutler as the girls freshman basketball coach.

The meeting was adjourned at 7:56 p.m. The next regular meeting of the Milan Board of School Trustees will be at 7 p.m., Monday, November 19, in the administration building.

Editor's note: Last month's Milan School Board story which was published in the Osgood Journal on October 9 stated that teachers would receive $75 per day under the new guidelines. The actual pay is $175 per day. We apologize for the error.

Ripley County Humane Society recommends microchipping your pets

Cindy Ward
Staff Writer

Every year, thousands of lost and abandoned dogs are taken in by shelters and humane societies across the country. Some of these animals never make it home because they can't be identified. This is why the Ripley County Humane Society recommends having your dog microchipped.

Microchipping offers pet owners the only truly permanent method of identifying your pet and linking the animal back to you, the owner. Collar tags can break or become unreadable. So, if you want to improve your pet's chances of getting home fast and safe in case it were to go missing, microchipping is your best option.

Microchips are tiny transponders that use radio frequency waves to transmit information about your pet. They are about the size of a grain of rice and are implanted just under the skin, usually between the shoulder blades.

Each microchip contains a registration number and the phone number of the registry for the brand of chip. A handheld scanner is used to read the radio frequency and display the information. The registry can then be contacted to get the name and phone number of the owner.

"The first thing we do here at the shelter when a dog is found is scan it for a microchip," said Janet Orr, part-time manager at the Ripley County Humane Society. "Dogs like to wander and microchipping is the best way to ensure that your lost pet will find its way back to you."

Microchipping is included in the adoption fee at the shelter. Adoption fees range from $125 to $350 per dog. Those interested in having their dog microchipped can bring their pet to the shelter and have the procedure done for $20. Walk-ins are welcome, but phone calls first are appreciated.

The Ripley County Humane Society has many dogs waiting to be adopted into loving homes. Back in August, a Red Ribbon Special Adoption was held and 21 dogs found families. However, seven of the canines that were not adopted that day are still at the shelter waiting for someone to come and take them home.

The adoption fee for the seven remaining dogs is only $125 and all of them can be seen on the Ripley County Human Society's website at www.rchumane.org. Adoptions include spay/neuter; up-to-date vaccinations, including Distemper, Bordetella, and Rabies if the animal is four months or older; heartworm testing if one year or older; and microchip.

"Flossie is a black lab. She is such a sweetheart and has been previously house-trained," said Orr. "Molly is a four-year-old jack russell/terrier mix. She is kind of a loner and would make a great companion for an older person."

"Then there's Harley, a shepherd/huskie/rottie mix. Harley is three-and-a-half years old and loves to play, but he's not overly energetic. Harley would be great with kids. Ralph who is a medium sized pug/husky mix and enjoys playing ball," Orr said.

Sampson is a black lab mix and has been at the shelter since February 24 of this year. He was just two months old when he arrived. Orr describes Sampson as being very, very funny and energetic.

Last, but not least, are twins Jenny and Penny (Flossie's puppies). The lab mix puppies are seven-and-a-half months old and more than ready to go home with a loving family.

The Ripley County Humane Society, Inc. is a not for profit 501(C)3 organization operating a No-Kill animal shelter in Ripley County. Its mission is to provide assistance to the needy, domesticated animals in Ripley County and to educate the residents of Ripley County regarding animal welfare.

This is accomplished by providing suitable care, food, shelter, treatment and placement into a humane environment, educating the public concerning animal welfare; advocating humane treatment of animals and fostering relationships between people and animals.

For information on adoption, volunteering or making a donation, visit their website or give them a call at 812-689-3773. You can also email them at info@rchumane.org or just stop in. They are located at 1202 W. County Road 150 North, Osgood.


Flossie, pictured at left, is a black lab just waiting for someone to take her home and give her the love she needs. According to Ripley County Humane Society spokesperson Janet Orr, Flossie is "such a sweetheart and has previously been house trained."

To read these and more articles pick up a copy of The Versailles Republican at your local store or subscribe by clicking on the link above or by calling 812-689-6364.
Ripley Publishing Company, Inc.
115 S. Washington Street
P.O. Box 158
Versailles, Indiana 47042
Phone: (812) 689-6364
Fax: (812) 689-6508
Email: publication@ripleynews.com

© Copyright 2012 Ripley Publishing Co.. Inc.