Questions raised during election of West Lafayette School Board officers

·3 min read
A look inside Happy Hollow Elementary during a public hearing on the proposed Superintendent contract for the future West Lafayette Community School Corp. Superintendent finalist, Monday, Dec. 13, 2021 in West Lafayette.
A look inside Happy Hollow Elementary during a public hearing on the proposed Superintendent contract for the future West Lafayette Community School Corp. Superintendent finalist, Monday, Dec. 13, 2021 in West Lafayette.

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — The first West Lafayette Community School Corporation meeting of the year saw multiple changes in positions among the board members.

The first half of Monday night's meeting consisted of the organizational meeting of the board, preceding the regular meeting. At this initial gathering, the board president, vice president, secretary, treasurers, school corporation physicians and attorney were voted on.

Before the nominations and eventual elections of Rachel Witt and Brad Marley as the 2022 school board president and vice president, respectively, board member Yue Yin stated her reasoning for the votes she cast for Marley for the presidency role and for herself as the vice president.

"I appreciate Mrs. Witt's contribution and dedication to our schools, but, based on my observation in the past year, I feel she's not ready for the leading role yet," Yin stated.

Yin proceeded to provide examples of Witt's actions from the past year that she said supported her thinking.

Board member Yue Yin speaks during a public hearing on the proposed Superintendent contract for the future West Lafayette Community School Corp. Superintendent finalist, Monday, Dec. 13, 2021 in West Lafayette.
Board member Yue Yin speaks during a public hearing on the proposed Superintendent contract for the future West Lafayette Community School Corp. Superintendent finalist, Monday, Dec. 13, 2021 in West Lafayette.

"(An example includes) when I suggested we survey the public for expectations for the new superintendent, to gather community input, (Witt) supported the meetings but was against using a survey. But it turned out that the public actually appreciated that survey."

Yin began providing another example before a fellow board member stated that was from a closed executive session and couldn't be discussed publicly.

Witt was ultimately elected president; she thanked the board and previous board President Alan Karpick for their confidence in her.

"I don't take your confidence lightly...." Witt said to the board. "(Karpick) has, without question, made me a better board member and a better person. They are big shoes to fill, but I will try."

Board member Rachel Witt speaks during a public hearing on the proposed Superintendent contract for the future West Lafayette Community School Corp. Superintendent finalist, Monday, Dec. 13, 2021 in West Lafayette.
Board member Rachel Witt speaks during a public hearing on the proposed Superintendent contract for the future West Lafayette Community School Corp. Superintendent finalist, Monday, Dec. 13, 2021 in West Lafayette.

Following Witt's election was that of Marley as vice president.

"I've been on the school board now for 14 years," Marley said. "I want to keep my shoulder behind our school and do everything we can to help our kids. Because that's what it's all about."

There are multiple treasurer positions within the WLCSC, those being the treasurer, assistant treasurer, deputy treasurer, extra-curricular accounts treasurer and the athletic secretary. While each position was designated, Yin brought up her concerns about why so many treasurer positions exist, as opposed to just one or two positions.

Board members explained to everyone present at the meeting that the role of treasurer is essentially a four-to-five person job, and designating one person as the sole treasurer would result in more problems than money saved.

"If (Dr. Shawn Greiner) comes in and says, 'Boy, we've got too many treasurers here, let's clean 'em out. Let's do away with some,' that is up to the board to do that, but he could make that recommendation," Ross Sloat, business manager at WLCSC, said.

Shawn Greiner, the recently appointed superintendent for the West Lafayette School Corporation, giving a speech on the evening of his appointment. Dec. 20, 2021
Shawn Greiner, the recently appointed superintendent for the West Lafayette School Corporation, giving a speech on the evening of his appointment. Dec. 20, 2021

After the organizational meeting was the regular meeting of the trustees, during which COVID-19 updates were given.

"Our school started back last Thursday, Friday and today," Sloat said. "We had pending-testing students from the three buildings at 87 (on Thursday). (As of Monday), we're at 99. So it went up a few more who are positive or who are pending. We had close-contact-absent students on the first day at 45, today it's 51.

"(As for) close-contact, vaccinated and present students, on the first day, we had 11. Today is was 41. Staff-wise, when we came back, we had 16 that were positive or pending being tested. Today it was eight."

Sloat went on to say that there is currently no plan to return to an online format for WLCSC classes, but changing COVID-19 numbers could effect that, along with their current 10-day isolation rule as opposed to five-day isolations.

The next WLCSC meeting will be on Feb. 7 at 6:30 p.m. in the LGI room at Happy Hollow, 1200 N Salisbury St.

Margaret Christopherson is a reporter for the Journal & Courier. Email her at mtroup@jconline.com and follow her on Twitter @MargaretJC2

This article originally appeared on Lafayette Journal & Courier: Questions raised as West Lafayette School Board officers elected

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