Elder named school-corporation treasurer

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By Kevin Koelling, Managing Editor

Former county auditor, current clerk will begin new position next month

TELL CITY - A selection of Perry County's former county auditor and current county clerk to be school-corporation treasurer was among several personnel actions approved by the Tell City-Troy Township School Board in a regular meeting Tuesday.

"My experience in working with county budgets, payroll and personnel matters will hopefully be an asset to the school corporation," Debra Elder said in a news release she provided to The News Wednesday morning. "The treasurer's position involves many duties similar to those of county auditor, and I'm excited about working with (Schools Superintendent) Mr. (Ron) Etienne and the staff of the school corporation. I have always been very committed in my role as a public official, and I will remain equally dedicated in this new position."

Elder expressed gratitude for support from Perry County citizens throughout her years of public service and said she intends to remain active in community organizations.

"It has been an honor and privilege to serve in public office, and I will be forever grateful, particularly to the hard-working staffs of both the clerk's and auditor's offices for their loyalty and commitment," she wrote.

Elder served as county auditor from 1999 through 2006 and is currently in the second year of her first term as clerk. She will resign from her current position Jan. 31 and begin work in the schools office Feb. 4.

Other personnel actions included the employment of Lisa Holloway as volunteer junior-high wrestling coach. Patsy Alvey, who is "close to having her license," Etienne said, was shifted into a dual-credit high-school economics teaching position opened by the death of Steve Whitaker. Chris Page's hours were increased from a half to two-thirds of a school day to fill the library vacancy created by that change.

Liz Dickman will resign from her cafeteria position Feb. 1, and Brenda Simpson will fill it on an interim basis until the end of the school year. Lorraine Morgan's cafeteria hours were increased from three to seven, and the corporation will seek someone to fill the three-hour position.

Bruce Chinn, assistant to the superintendent, was put in charge of maintenance-custodial issues, Etienne said.

"I keep hearing about maintenance issues, especially through the building committee," the superintendent said. "We need to get a grip on this."

A lack of attention to maintenance issues over decades was cited as contributing to problems leading to a need identified last year for major repairs and renovations. A remonstrance defeated a proposed construction plan, and a committee was subsequently formed to examine renovation needs. A report from that committee is expected at the board's February meeting, Etienne said. Under state law, work included in the defeated plan was prohibited until April, so board members will have a couple of months to consider the committee's findings, he noted.

"We have been 'patchworking' things so much," Chinn said. "We have a list of things we're trying to fix ... but we need to come up with a better system."

Noting some roof damage at Tell City High School has repeatedly led to water damage in other parts of the building, board member Larry Bryant suggested a plan be developed to identify and budget for large projects that need to be completed over summer months.

"If the roof needs to be replaced, at what point do we need to make capital-projects money available?" he asked.

Saying he wasn't aware of the problems Bryant mentioned, Chinn said the communication of construction needs can be improved.

Etienne noted a flat roof on the building has needed repeated repairs.

"If we fix it today, it will leak again tomorrow," he said, "and leaks are difficult to find."

In other business, Chinn said officials at the corporation's elementary and junior-high schools have begun locking the buildings' doors as a security measure.

"Parents and the public have bought into it," he said. "We haven't heard any complaints."

A National Guard official expressed appreciation, Chinn said, to corporation bus drivers who transported soldiers and their family members to recent pre-deployment events in Jasper and Indianapolis. Tell City-based soldiers are undergoing training in Georgia ahead of a deployment to Iraq, expected to occur in March.

Etienne said seven contractors expressed interest in the second phase of a heating-and-air replacement project, and assured board members work in the high-school auditorium will be completed in time for Schweizer Fest activities, which this year will celebrate the city's 150th anniversary.