With the new year just a few weeks away, the Vigo County School Board will see a lot of changes, including four new board members.
Tears and tissues were in full supply at Monday night’s Vigo County School Board meeting, as board members Dave Lotter, Alpa Patel and Tammy Pearson said so long to the board.
“It’s bittersweet,” Alpa Patel said.
“Very bittersweet,” Tammy Pearson said. “It’s been a great ride. It’s been eight years for me, four for Mr. Lotter.”
“It’s been 12 years for me,” Patel said.
“It’s been a great service that we’ve done,” Pearson said.
“Just a wonderful opportunity,” Dave Lotter said.
In the years they have served, they agree it was a learning experience.
“We worked together as a group and we accomplished many great things, our graduation rates, our I-Step scores, the clinic for the employees,” Pearson said. “There’s a lot of great things that we have done together.”
Board members are sad to leave, but are excited for the corporation’s future.
And they have some advice for those taking their seats.
“I would say always make your decisions based on the best interest of the children and keep each other accountable and also educate yourself,” Patel said.
“Yes, be able to disagree, but yet move forward for youngsters,” Lotter said. “That’s a challenge that most boards face throughout Indiana according to the School Board Association. Not micromanaging but representing the people that we sever.”
“Communication, communication, communication,” Peason said.
“Amen,” Lotter agreed.
They all say they will continue to be active in the community and give back.
The fourth school board member, Pat Sheehan, has missed a majority of meetings this past year due to health reasons and decided to step down.
The first school board meeting with the new members, will be Monday, January 7th at 7:00 p.m.
Also at Monday night’s school board meeting, also voted unanimously to hire a company called, NEOLA.
NEOLA, focuses solely on school policies and keeping those policies up to date.
Now that the company has been approved, it will address corporation polices related to whistleblower protection, purchasing authority, gifts to employees and more.
“So not unique to us,” Dr. Robert Hayworth said. “We’ve had some policies that have needed to be reviewed. Here is our opportunity as we are thinking about strategic planning to move with an agency so not only do we have a strategic plan, to start 2020, we also have a new policy book to go along with that plan.”
NEOLA, currently serves more than a thousand clients in six states; that includes, 75% of school districts in Indiana.