Public speaks up about retire/rehire proposal

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(Posted June 16, 2016)

By Amanda Amsel, Staff Writer

On June 14, the Madison-Plains Local school board held a public hearing on the possible retiring/rehiring of the district’s superintendent, Tim Dettwiller.

“Mr. Dettwiller is set to retire July 31, 2016, and the board is considering rehiring him as the superintendent,” said Mike Datz, school board president. “If we did this, it would significantly save the district money and allow us to continue to make the progress we have been making.”

If the board approves the retire/rehire, Dettwiller would receive his retirement and salary for three years. He is requesting a reduction in his benefits and a $10,000 reduction in his salary. According to the board, this would yield an annual savings for the district of $15,600.

Not everyone in attendance at the meeting supports the proposal.

“This whole thing confuses me,” said Joe Meyer, district resident. “It used to be when you retired you quit working, but educators have figured out a way to retire and still keep their salary and benefits. “I don’t feel like this is the best thing for the community.”

“To say you don’t want to work here, but then you want to be rehired is not right to me,” said Melinda Moore, a parent of students in the district. “There have been a lot of changes under Superintendent Dettwiller, and I feel we need a new superintendent with fresh ideas that can make a difference.”

Others who attended the meeting support keeping Dettwiller on, stating he has done a lot for this district.

“Everyone wants to talk about the negatives, but no one is talking about the positives,” said Jim Nobel, district resident. “Tim came in and made a lot of changes for the positive.”

Board members said they plan to decide on Dettwiller’s retire/rehire request at their regular meeting on July 12.

Also on the board’s June 14 agenda was a discussion about possible changes to the bussing system.

“Our bussing doesn’t require a vote as the board policy has directed me to make decisions to increase district efficiency,” Dettwiller said. “We have been having this discussion about busing since last year and need to address this issue.”

Dettwiller said the district has received various complaints from parents about bussing. Among the concerns expressed are that too few students utilize the service, too many different age levels are forced to ride together, and the commute is too long for some students.

“We have several options. We can have a tier one where all students K-12 ride together on the same bus, and we make one run to school and one run home,” Dettwiller said. “Or we can have tier two where we do two runs in the morning and two runs in the evening. If we do this option, students will ride with other students in their age range, but we will be driving more miles with fewer drivers.”

In other news, the district received notice that lead levels in the water at the elementary school are higher than normal.

“However, a reason for this could be because when water sits in a pipe, it may have higher levels of lead,” said Joe Penney, district director of operations. “We are doing everything we can to protect our students and have experts coming in to examine this.”

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