06-14-2018 Beebe and Vawter honored with Golden Apples by Watervliet school board; Hartford School B

Beebe and Vawter honored with Golden Apples by Watervliet school board

By Kristy Noack School may be out for the summer for kids throughout the Watervliet district, but school board meetings are still in session. The June meeting, held Monday the 11th, was short on to-do items but long on appreciation for two retiring staff members.

APPLES OF WATERVLIET SCHOOL DISTRICT’S EYES… The Watervliet Board of Education bestowed Golden Apples to Dianne Vawter and Debb Beebe Monday evening. Vawter and Beebe retired from the district after 31 and 27 years of service, respectively. Pictured are (from the left): Watervliet School Board President Bill Spaulding, paraprofessional Dianne Vawter, South Elementary school secretary Debb Beebe, and Superintendent Kevin Schooley. (TCR photo by Kristy Noack)

The board honored Debb Beebe and Dianne Vawter, as the two have stepped away from the Watervliet School District following decades of service. Beebe became an employee of the district in 1991, first as a lunchroom aide. In 1995, she became the secretary at South Elementary School, a position she held until her recent retirement. Superintendent Kevin Schooley said, “She has been the face of South School for 27 years.” South School Principal Carole Fetke shared an email she received about Beebe from a Panther parent. The email stated Beebe “could teach customer service to anyone.” Vawter spent 31 years in the Watervliet School District. She worked at both North and South schools as a paraprofessional. She shared her love of reading with the littlest of Panthers. Vawter initially volunteered at South School in 1982 and was a former vice president of the PTO. Superintendent Schooley referred to both retirees as “long-term contributors to the children of Watervliet.” He also shared, “It has been my pleasure to work with both of you.” Speaking of Beebe’s and Vawter’s long tenure with the school, Watervliet Board of Education President Bill Spaulding remarked, “That kind of service and servant’s heart, public schools couldn’t do it without.” Beebe and Vawter were presented Golden Apples by Spaulding and Schooley on behalf of all board members.

Three-year teacher contract approved The Watervliet Education Association and Watervliet Board of Education approved a three-year teacher contract. WEA membership approved the agreement at their meeting last week, with the board ratifying it Monday evening. Increases to base salaries over the three-year period will be one-half percent for the first and second years and one percent the third year. The agreement addressed insurance by fixing the amount at the statutory hard cap figures. There were no major language changes to the agreement, although some grey areas were further clarified. Extra duty pay was updated with some revisions.

Berrien RESA Parent Advisory appointees named The board unanimously approved the appointment of Leah Dibble and Wendy Stainbrook as the Watervliet representatives to the Berrien RESA Parent Advisory Board for Special Education Services. “I think they will be a good voice for the kids and a good voice for Watervliet,” Schooley said. Construction update Schooley gave a brief update regarding construction projects currently underway within the district. Locker rooms at the high school are being renovated, with a competition date anticipated sooner than expected. A new classroom is being bricked in and the door was cut in on Tuesday. Science rooms are “further along than expected,” according to Schooley. The high school gym floor will be refinished beginning June 29. The gym is currently accommodating volleyball and basketball camps. The weight room has been temporarily relocated to the lunch room. The gym floor should take three to three and-a-half weeks and should be available for use in early August, just in time for fall sports. Other business In other business, the board accepted the resignation of Rachel Schultz. Schultz who had been on leave for the past year taught at North Elementary School. She tendered her resignation, as she wants to remain home with her young children. The board also approved paying General Fund expenses in the amount of $1,234,126.47. Of that figure, $727,159.20 is related to payroll.

Hartford School Board approves contracts

By Jon Bisnett The May 17 business session of the Hartford School Board concluded with a fair degree of discord following approvals of administrative, directors, coordinators & specialists, and the superintendent contracts centering on repeated inquisitions on the part of veteran trustee and current Board Secretary Jason Meachum throughout the process. In closing the meeting President Ben Chambers challenged the board to review their own code of ethics before the next meeting saying, “I cannot continue to conduct a meeting of this nature.” Trustees Lisa Johnson and Ginny Wesaw Rice directly challenged Meachum for what they both characterized as “inappropriate” commentary, especially in light of three teachers and a group of students present earlier in the meeting. Meachum w