Indiana, PA - Indiana County

TERRY RAY: New ideas needed on IASD board

on May 28, 2013 10:59 AM

The Indiana Area school board is back to closing schools and raising taxes while the board president praises the work of the current board.

Here are some things President Harley forgot to mention in his recent letter to the editor.

One big drain on the Indiana Area School District is the cost of its administrators. As a board member, I carefully studied the administrators’ contract and the only appropriate adjective to describe it is “shocking” in its generosity.

While every other employee sector in the district has been substantially reduced over the last couple of years, the number of administrators has grown.

The weak team appointed by Harley to negotiate the administrators’ contract last year ended up giving them an even more generous contract, which the full board then approved. The relationship between the board and the administration is, clearly, very “cozy,” and we end up paying big-time for this love affair.

Here’s something else Harley forgot. The financial crisis was just hitting when I came onto the school board and I spent a great deal of time brainstorming and researching various ways we could save money.

While poring over the Pennsylvania School Code, I came across an option that is available to all school districts that could save an enormous amount of money for our district every school year.

It’s actually very simple. A school district can apply to the state Department of Education to adopt an hourly school year instead of the 180-day calendar we currently follow. This would mean that, following the present hourly school day, we could complete our secondary school year in 141 days and elementary in 138.5 days.

One need not be an Isaac Newton to figure out that cutting the school year by an average of 40 days would produce huge savings.

I drafted a complete plan based upon this concept and gave copies to all board members, the superintendent and the business manager.

That was the last I heard of it. No interest.

Perhaps if the Indiana school board was willing to consider ideas that are “new” and was willing to end its costly and overly “cozy” relationships, then, maybe, Harley could write a letter that praises a reduction in taxes and no need to cut programs or close schools.

Terry Ray

Indiana

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