SYRACUSE — Doing the math, more than 320 years of experience in the Wawasee Community School Corporation will not return for the 2019-20 school year. During the regular monthly meeting of the Wawasee School Board Tuesday evening, June 11, in Syracuse, retiring teachers or staff members were recognized by the board for their years of service.
Retirees are given a plaque and a lifetime pass to school athletic events. Some of those retiring were not able to attend the board meeting, but the list includes, with years of experience at WCSC only included, Dr. Sandra Weaver, director of special services, three years; John Blunk, Wawasee Middle School teacher, 30 years; Michael MacOwan, WMS teacher, 23 years; Nancy Rehling, WMS teacher, 30 years; Connie Meadows, Wawasee High School teacher, 21 years; Ed Waltz, Wawasee Building Trades instructor, 26 years; Keith Bollman, North Webster Elementary teacher, 37 years; Charlotte Jessie, North Webster teacher, 35 years; Brenda MacOwan, North Webster reading interventionist, two years; Deb Minear, North Webster teacher, 28 years; Kay Shelton, North Webster teacher, 16 years; Darlene Brazel, WMS cafeteria manager and bookkeeper, 16 years; Steve Cunnington, custodian at North Webster, Syracuse Elementary and WHS, 23.5 years; Carol Evans, WMS secretary and North Webster school nurse, 3.5 years; Doug Evans, North Webster custodian, 6.5 years; and Lynette Zolman, WMS cafeteria staff, 25.5 years.
In other business, six students were given certificates of appreciation for being named the 2018-19 Turn Around Award winners, a new award this year. They made tremendous strides academically in one year. Honored were Elise Wirebaugh, Milford School fifth grade; Devon High, North Webster fifth grade; Amara Tinkey, Syracuse fifth grade; Jacob McKinney, Milford Middle School eighth grade; Brayden Spencer, WMS eighth grade; and Henderson Pamer, WHS senior.
Also during Tuesday’s meeting, during his report to the board Dr. Tom Edington, WCSC superintendent, noted the solar panels are nearly finished being installed next to the transportation department building on Kern Road in Syracuse. Wiring connections need to be completed. Equipment is being delivered to WMS where panels will be installed next in a field east of the school.
Edington noted a large oak tree was partially trimmed by NIPSCO near Milford School but it may need to come down completely if it interferes with the installation of solar panels.
He also reported to the board the fire panel at WMS may have been hit by lightning during a storm and malfunctioned for a couple of days, so the fire department brought a truck to the school and had firemen walk around the building, which is required by law if something happens to the fire panel and there are people in the building. It has been repaired and is working correctly now.
Also at WMS, the retention pond tile had to be cleaned out due to excessive spring rains, causing the water in the pond not to recede as it normally does. Tree roots were also causing problems, but the tile has been cleaned out.
And Edington noted there are still staff vacancies yet to be filled, particularly among teachers. “Teacher shortages are a fact of life now,” he said. “We have to go looking for them, they don’t come to us.”
In other business, Kim Nguyen, WHS principal, submitted his resignation effective June 30 in order to accept a position with Wildman Business Group in Warsaw.
Other agenda items included:
• Titus Taylor, a student at WMS, has been nominated as a candidate for Kosciusko Endowment Youth Services.
• Syracuse Elementary Relay for Life raised $10,117.29.
• Wawasee Property Owners Association donated $2,000 for the fall sailing class taken by WHS juniors and seniors.
• A total of $3,084 was raised through payroll deduction for Dollars For Scholars.
• Korenstra Family Foundation donated $500 for the national culinary arts competition expenses.
• Jared Krugman was recognized for qualifying for the state finals in high school swimming.
• Helmuth Quality Coatings LLC donated powder coating valued at $1,500 for welding projects.
• Mileage reimbursement rate for the 2019-20 school year will be 54 cents per mile.
• Lunch and breakfast prices will increase by 10 cents each, as required by federal law.
• About half of WCSC staff have been trained for sensitive trauma situations.
• New staff orientation for the 2019-20 school year will be Aug. 5-9.
• And some minor changes were approved for the Milford School student handbook.