Schools

North discusses reorganization practices

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LINDEN — The North Montgomery School Board reorganized during a special meeting Friday, but did so with a deep discussion of its traditional practices.

Member Jarrod Zachary made a motion to change how the board selects officers each year. His motion was to exclude the election of officers at Friday’s meeting and allow the board to nominate officers. If approved, it would end the current practice, which is a cycle where each year the board secretary moves to vice president and the vice president moves to president. Zachary also wanted the secretary’s position to be a board nomination and not an administrative pick.

“What I would like to do is allow the board to make a nomination of who they want as officers instead of it just following a cycle, and the same for the secretary position,” Zachary said. “I didn’t have a say in who I felt like would be a good secretary fit, so I’m not sure how that recommendation comes about. I just feel like it should be the board discusses who they want as officers and makes the nominations and those offices would sit in those positions for a two-year term.”

Zachary also supports allowing an officeholder to hold their position for multiple terms, instead of the current one-year cycle.

Member Michael Shepherd said he understands Zachary’s position, but he was concerned a first-year board member with no experience could potentially serve as president or an existing board member serving multiple terms could experience “burnout.”

Shepherd favors the current system because “by the time you get to the captain’s chair your confidence level of being able to run a board meeting has probably improved.”

Furthermore, Shepherd offered there is more to the presidency than just running a meeting, there’s a lot to learn when someone is elected to the school board.

Outgoing board president Gary Bohlander, said he supports the current system.

“Everyone has different leadership skills and styles,” he said. “One person might be a good fit for one year when we are dealing with certain issues and another individual may be a better fit for another year when different issues come up. I’ve seen many of our past board presidents work and I’ve always respected and admired the different leadership skills that each of them have exhibited.”

Bohlander added the current practice demonstrates the board’s ability to grow leaders during their terms.

“There’s not one person here that wouldn’t be a good fit for an officer, I just feel like it should be a board discussion and decision on who they want as their officers ... Everybody here is capable, but as a board member I just don’t feel like I have a say.”

Zachary added the secretary position, which opened up, “was just a name that was given to us. It wasn’t asked if board members had a nomination ... this is who it is whether you like it or not.”

Bohlander countered by saying board members have always had the power to choose, and that he always saw the administration’s involvement as assistance and as a tool.

“We’ve always had the ability to amend any motion,” he said. “But I do think the administration does go out of its way to help us and prepare us for these meetings so they follow a certain protocol. And if we want to take that role away and just say we are going to develop all of that ourselves, it will put more burden on us.”

Bohlander said Shepherd, the incoming secretary, expressed an interest in the fall in rotating through the chairs again, and he felt like that was a board decision because it was not opposed.

Zachary’s motion to change the board’s reorganization practices failed by a vote of 1-6.

The board then voted 6-1 to approve the appointment of Terresa Hatke, president; Jess Cain, vice president; Shepherd, secretary; and Zachary, legislative liaison to the Indiana School Board Association. The term of service is Jan. 1 through Dec. 31, 2022.

The board also approved the reappointment of Glenda Nice, corporation treasurer; Delinda Wilkins, deputy treasurer; and Stuart K. Weliever as legal counsel.

The board set its regular meetings 6 p.m. the fourth Monday of the month (except for March and December) in the board room of the corporation office.

Although Zachary’s motion failed, Shepherd said the board should “not let his position fall on deaf ears and we should consider moving forward with a process or at least more discussion in December.”

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