The Washington Times-Herald

September 25, 2013

Loogootee board approves 1-year deal

By TIM PINKHAM Times-Herald
The Washington Times-Herald

---- — LOOGOOTEE – Loogootee teachers will not receive an across-the-board pay raise this year, although individual teachers may receive additional money.

The Loogootee School Board Tuesday night approved a one-year collective bargaining agreement with the Loogootee Teachers Association. Business operations director Mike Tippery thanked the teachers for their understanding about the lack of a pay raise during “tough economic times.”

Tippery said the only changes in the contract were stipends and incentives for certain teachers.

In other business, the board appointed Laura Mattingly as interim superintendent, Tippery as interim business operations director and Terri Smith as interim elementary principal. Smith replaces Mattingly, who takes over from former superintendent Larry Weitkamp, who was not mentioned during the meeting.

Following the meeting, Board president Scott Hall said Weitkamp would be paid through the end of his contract next summer, using vacation time and unused sick days. Weitkamp worked for the corporation for more than 40 years.

Hall has declined to state why Weitkamp abruptly left his position or whether he was forced out by the board.

Mattingly said she has no interest in being named permanent superintendent, but simply agreed to the interim appointment because it fulfilled a need. She started as an elementary teacher in 1982 and was named principal in 1995. She is gaining a new appreciation for the job of superintendent, she said.

Hall said there are no immediate plans to seek a new superintendent, but confirmed that Mattingly will not seek the position.

The board also accepted the resignation of high school social studies teacher and baseball coach Roger Bailey. He had been placed on administrative leave with pay from Sept. 13 to 23. Hall said the resignation means Bailey is no longer on the corporation payroll.

For the 10th consecutive year, the corporation has reduced enrollment. Friday was the statewide school count day, and Mattingly said Loogootee was credited with 910.5 students. Kindergarten students are still counted as one-half by the state. The enrollment was down 14 from 2012, which is the smallest reduction in recent years.

At the beginning of the meeting, Mattingly presented an award to elementary teacher Megan Jones, who started a school and community council last year, as well as a girls running club.

Jones was also praised by Karoline Tedrow, a 5th grader, who said she has lost 38 pounds while participating in the girls running club. She has run in several 5-kilometer races and is now preparing for a 10-kilometer run.

Hall told the 30 people attending the meeting in the high school library that the school board wants to “go down a different road.” He pledged the board members will provide as much information to the public as they can legally.

“I hope we will build your trust,” Hall said.

No one spoke during a public hearing on the proposed 2014 corporation budget, including the capital projects plan and bus replacement plan. The board will vote on the budget plan during its Oct. 22 meeting.