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By KEVIN KOELLING
CANNELTON – Cannelton School Board members discussed pay and benefit issues for an administrator, students leaving campus and snow days at their regular meeting Dec. 20.
The board approved a “Social Security leveler” for Dan Freed, who was named academic dean last summer.
That means “his teacher’s retirement goes down and his Social Security kicks in so he’s getting the same money,” Schools Superintendent Al Sibbitt explained. “He’ll be working 60 days … three days a week starting in January for $7,500.”
Freed, who previously worked for the Tell City-Troy Township School Corp., “has asked to go on our insurance rather than Tell City’s insurance, and in the past we’ve been reimbursing him for the cost of being on their insurance, and I recommend that the board approve Mr. Freed enrolling in our medical, dental and life insurance programs effective Jan. 1 and the school corporation fully pay the premiums.”
Board member Jerry Harris asked if the cost would remain the same. Sibbitt said Freed was being fully reimbursed for all of his insurance until the beginning of this school year, when “we started paying him the same as we reimburse our employees. It costs about $3,000 a year to fully pay his insurance versus paying the same as we do for other employees, but since he’s working so cheaply … he’s making far less per day than a first-year teacher makes. I have no problem with it. I mean, he’s an asset here, he does a great job.” Freed’s efforts include helping youngsters with personal problems and assisting college-bound students in getting scholarships and taking qualification tests, Sibbitt added.
The board unanimously adopted a motion from Harris to approve the change.
In other business, Sibbitt said Principal Roger Fisher asked that the board consider opening the campus for ninth- through 12th-graders. Eleventh- and 12th-graders are allowed to leave the school at lunchtime, according to the student handbook, but because he’s new, Fisher doesn’t know which students shouldn’t be allowed to leave, the superintendent said.
“I thought we were progressively going to have a closed campus,” Harris said. Restrictions began with ninth-graders and were to follow them as they entered each higher grade until the closed-campus policy applied to everyone.
“Personally, I like a closed campus,” Sibbitt said, adding that he doesn’t like to change policies in mid-year. He asked the board to consider the issue.
The superintendent also said if weather forces changes to the school day, Cannelton will follow the lead of the Tell City-Troy Township School Corp. except for delays. “I have never been one who liked a two-hour delay” implemented by many schools when roads are dangerous but not so bad as to require cancellations. “The only reason I think you should do that is so that the sun comes up and the drivers can see what they’re facing.”
In his former job at Paoli, he said, “if we had a two-hour delay, our kids did not get to eat breakfast.”
Evansville and Louisville, Ky., TV and radio stations will be notified of closings or delays, Sibbitt said.