Sunday, March 7, 2010

Your Comments and Suggestions Free-For-All

Post a comment on any subject you wish - or leave a suggestion for what you would like to see covered here.


Anonymous said...

Pat: Have you contacted the media regarding some of the issues that have come up? ex: the law violations, the "admin cuts" which are simply rearrangments, etc?

Anonymous said...

Thanks to the courage of Phil Webster, we the teacher, have a better understanding of more of the issues. We always thought it was the top having there way, but there are some other things that have brought this about. It's about time that we stand up and fight united behind our Supt to help solve these issues. He is our leader and still sees the vision of 21st century education, not the old industrial age of chew them up and spit them out. Our dropout rate and graduation rate have risen to new heights behind his leadership, we have buildings and program that we are proud of and we have a strong positive sense of accomplishment. It's about time we see all the positives going on our schools, not weight on the negatives.

Anonymous said...

O.M.G. What are you thinking?What about the test scores? What about our schools that are on probation?
Graduation rates may be up due to DDA and DEC spitting them out with 2 or more credits a week.I see no positives in this superintendent unless you count self serving greed!

Anonymous said...

Pellico, did you write the 11;49 post? We know one of your duties is to read and report everyday.

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:49 a.m.

Interesting that employees were allowed to read an e-mail from Phil Webster and Janet Larch on their school computers but they are not allowed to read other correspondence about the budget woes even on their lunch time. Sad.

It is also sad that the school data from the State Department of Education reveals that Decatur has fallen farther and farther behing when comparing the state average graduation rate. In 06-07 we were 1.5% behind the state and last year we were 8.4% behind. We could all analyze this data.

What is important is that every emmployee and community member should be respected whether they agree or disagree with the administration. There are people who think Milhon-Baer and Adams positions are a waste during the budget crunch. There is public information that is not available and/or accessible. There people who think teachers should not take a pay cut as long as since is paid $250,000 after his decrease. This is about not being afraid when you don't support putting teachers out of jobs and thereby affecting students education. Just because he was hired to be your leader doesn't make it right.

Anonymous said...

Quite a few people think that Susan Adams goal in Perry Twp to get rid of superintendent was she thought she would get the job. However in the process she made many enemies and it didn't happen. She was then booted off of the schoolboard.Susan and Stinson were seen by many residents having alcoholic beverages on a Thursday night at Brickyard. Celebrating her promotion no doubt.
Stinson should be very careful, she is probably after his job next.Afterall, we all know the real reason why she has been promoted so much in the last few years.

DC Resident said...

Pat - could we please have some information on Bobby Hire, the new candidate running for DC School Board?

Anonymous said...

Stinson and Harvey have a lot in common. The e-mails sent by Phil Webster and Janet Larch were probably not just accidental in the sense of timing. Agree, also that there was a reason for this. Surprising that Harvey got into trouble for asking teachers to write letters supporting him for the Valley Mills principal job. It is good that everyone wants to have all the information. By the way, the old industrial age was one when people who worked hard were valued and your job depended on what you could do not who you knew.

Anonymous said...

The reason Webster and Larch is all up Stinson butt is because neither one of them should have a job with their reputation and Stinson saved both of them so they owe him. I don't know how anyone could say he has done a good job he changes things every year cause nothing works and he gives alot of empty promises.As far as Susan goes for some reason we just keep creating jobs for her she needs to either go back to the class room or retire her income could come in handy.

Anonymous said...

Can someone paste in the Webster and Larch emails?

Anonymous said...

I am glad to see that reputations are known by others because sometimes when people make comments about behaviors such as the big time party behaviors it seems like there is something wrong with the person who questions it. I guess it is their business what they do but it does not seem right for them to eat and be merry when they are spending grant money because those grants are funded by somebody and most grants are taxpayer dollars. They can eat and be merry at their own homes on their own time and spend their own nickel. Of course, for some they have extra nickels from their extravagant salaries paid for by the taxpayers. It is not the industrial age but it is the age of accountability that is new to this reinvention. We would not need to bring out so much of this stuff if those responsible had provided ethical and moral leadership for the service of children. That has not been the case. Ususally, we would have had a check and balance from the board but that has not been the case.

Anonymous said...


Should a group file a complaint under Board Policy 9130 about some of the violations for which there does not seem to be legal recourse??

Anonymous said...

Why was Webster called to CO on Friday?

Anonymous said...

Has anyone looked into the $4.6+million that "Decatur Township Multi-School Building Corporation" got from ?

Go to the site and put in the Zip & click on the school. Is this $ that they get every year or something new?

Anonymous said...

Last Friday the Indiana Department of Education put out under Superintendents Mail a new growth model analysis of student data. Decatur and IPS are tied for the lowest growth percentage in Marion county. Amazing results for this reinvention??? Too bad but since the kids are the victims of this educational blunder there will probably be nothing done. SAD. Guess this is why they needed new theme based schools. Glad everyone has a better understanding of the issues. There was a time not long ago when the vision was not this type of result in terms of student achievement.

phil webster said...

I think the discussion on this blog is very healthy for our community. I will add some of my ideas later when I have time to articulate my support of our administration and why this current financial situation is not their fault. However I do feel compelled to ask the person who posted the 4:52 March 7th post and i quote:

"The reason Webster and ------ is all up Stinson butt is because neither one of them should have a job with their reputation and Stinson saved both of them so they owe him."

What is my reputation that should prevent me from having a job.

And what does that have to do with the merits of my arguement.

Also let me say to the person who asked why I was called to the central office on Friday that

I was not called to the central office on Friday maybe that will give the conspiracy detectives
a rest

Anonymous said...

Hey Phil: Didn't you already articulate your unwavering support? How about addressing the statistics and not the rumors and emotions? Not everyone is calling names, just calling foul!

Anonymous said...

Interesting that Phil Webster goes on and on defending Stinson and himself. But occasionally he won't discuss things - says to call him. Hmmm.

If you missed Phil's rant, look for the post on the blog called Why Decatur Needs A New Superintendent.

Janet Larch's was something short but no less nauseating like Well said or something like that.

Phil, as far as reputation (which by nature can be based on fact or fiction), rumor has it you're pulling retirement AND getting a salary. Feel free to debunk here.

Phil Webster said...

Yes I have written my support of Don Stinson, with rationale and everytime I write on why this is not his fault you and others who want to blame him for everything just call me a suck up or you change the subject. I will say it again, He is not the cause of low test scores. He is doing everything he can to get them up. He is not the person who cut 300 million dollars out of school funding. He is not the person who cause sales tax revenue to come up short on the projected income for the state. He did not give Holiday Corportation tax abatement. He is not buying up most of West Camby and taking the property off the tax rolls. He has been doing what an educational leader is hired to do. If you did not like what he has been doing why were you not at school board meetings or other meetings held around the township voicing your objections. Now that economic times are not very good you want to look around to find someone to blame. I think we are fooling ourselves if we think that if we change superintendent and the school board we are going to magically solve our problems of low test scores or financial indebtness. We need to work together to solve these problems. Our parents worked hard and paid taxes so you and I could get a quality education. Nobody wants to pay taxes but we also want to give our kids the same educational benefits we received from our parents. laying off teachers and cutting programs is not going to do that. I think if we reached into our pockets and pay a small one time only property tax to stem the tide it will be a better solution than laying off teachers and cutting programs.Remember we had a telethone to save the Pacers and we built Conseco field house and lucas oil stadium to keep the pacers and the colts. recently we have been asked to help the kids of Haiti and Chile.Now its our kids with the tin cup.
This is why I joined the discussion blog and I welcome discussion on why I am wrong. I think dicussions like this is healthy and will lead to a better school system. That is my motivation for participating. I am not tying to suck up. Sticks and stones will break my bones.
In answer to the other question. Yes I am retired and I sub-contract with the school. I teach three law education classes and I coach the baseball team. I have 93 students in those three classes. I wonder why that damages my reputation. I am a good teacher and I work hard everyday for the money they pay me.

Anonymous said...

Phil Webster,

So whose fault are the low test scores?

Who's to blame for Stinson taking the lead in ratching up superintendent pay in central Indiana?

Who's to blame for a new program or philosophy every year?

Who's to blame for taking an hour of instruction away every week so we can read dumb books like The Iceberg is Melting or filling out surveys about what we think other teachers think?

Who's to be for letting Susan Adams treat custodians like third-rate citizens?

Who's to blame for all these director and coach positions?

Who's to blame for not redistricting until the last minute?

Who's to blame for letting ţhe high school have their way in everything?

Who's to blame for all the catered dinners?

Who's to blame for counting Baer's retirement as a reduction in administration knowing his replacement has been hired?

Who's to blame for the lack of communication that has led to the mistrust that makes this blog so popular among parents and teachers and taxpayers?

Obidiah said...

Oy vey....Where does one start?

I came to this blog just over a week ago inadvertently and the blog is indeed,enlightening.

I should preface my comment(s) by mentioning I don't have children in the school system. I do however, own property within the township,so I've got a dog in this hunt. After perusing this blog for over a week,I'm reminded of a particular rock album title;We're Only In It For The Money.

I don't ascribe to the idea Stinson is at fault for the low test scores.I do believe those interacting with students on a daily basis are at fault. I attended DCHS four years back in the 70's,and can count on one hand the teachers worthy of the appellation of educator---- Diane Laybold and Henrietta Kirkham,to name just two. To use a metaphor,Mrs Kirkham is Joni Mitchell compared to the majority as analogous to Paris Hilton. These two--Laybold & Kirkham--had the X Factor.The majority were only there to punch the time clock. Moreover,the fault of low test scores are the fault of teachers,students and parents.Period.(Pun intended).And, judging by a cursory glance at the Facebook pages of my fellow DCHS graduates still living in the township with children, and seeing the popularity of Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck amongst those same graduates,I think I'm right(no pun intended).

It's good to see Phil Webster chime in with a few Words (wow,that name is A Journey Through The Past). You bring up some good points and some not so good. A bit weak at best.

Comparing the predicament of the children of Haiti and Chile to the children of Decatur township is a silly analogy. You're right about the financing of Lucas,Conseco,tax cuts and the tax abatements given to business. Point(s) taken and made.

However,Stinson AND the board are at fault for the inflated salaries,the elaborate construction of the downtown Coca-Cola Building V2.0....And the lack of investment given toward Lynwood.

Speaking of particular schools,the students of Stephen Decatur have always been looked upon as the bastard step-children of the township. I guess it's now Lynwood's turn at the title. There's no way West Newton or Valley Mills would've been allowed to wither in such a manner.

There's an old maxim...
All politics are local.

The township is a microcosm of what's going on nationally. You really do get the government,school system,et al you deserve. I do believe some folks see the school system as their personal fiefdom. Hopefully,folks will become more inquisitive and active within the township and question the motives behind the school board and the administration's actions/decisions. Transparency and dialogue is a good thing. Hell,that's something I learned from a certain caffeinated and long haired History teacher at DCHS back in the day.

A change in the board will do no good if folks keep voting for the same people and continue to vote for milksops and those willing to acquiesce to the desires of the superintendent. If one compares the salary of the current superintendent and some of the members of the administration.....We're getting President Obama as chief executive of the most powerful nation on earth at quite a bargain.

Yours Truly....

Obidiah & His Possibles.

Anonymous said...

I'm the one that thought you were called to CO. I was wrong, it was Jeff Harvey
who was called. What was he called to CO for?

As far as going to the SB meeting, I have. I was funny when the teacher gave them homework because they tryed to say all the money goes for pay & nothing goes to the buildings, power, water, ect.

I can't talk to the board because I don't live in the area. But that does not mean I don't have a dog in this.

Anonymous said...

If you want to tie teachers pay to test scores OK. But that also goes all the was
y to the top person. You also have to stop teachers from finding out who the "good kids" are and telling them to ask their mom & dad to ask for them to be put with that teacher.

Why does someone think Stenson gets $250K after the cut? The Star said he makes $189K, but he gets just over $18K a month, that comes out to $216K befor the cut.

Anonymous said...

Hope everyone is reading the separate blog "need new superintendent". The cheese is moving.

Anonymous said...

I saw on the Channel 6 news report that a Decatur school bus driver was "suspended" (according to the report) for having allowed her bus's engine to idle for 35 minutes. I suppose that buses shouldn't idle for long periods for no reason, but I have to wonder if that's the only thing the news media has noticed about "waste and inefficiency" in our school system? Have they taken a look at our central office fat-cat retirement factory?

I wonder too why we're suspending township bus drivers for allowing their engines to idle when our legendary township fire chief (and school board prez) routinely lets his assigned fire dept vehicle idle for an hour or more outside the bagel shop almost every morning??? If, as school board president, he agrees with disciplining single-mom bus drivers for letting their engine idle, shouldn't he volunteer to take a hit in his paycheck too?

C'mon, up and lead by example!

Anonymous said...

Someone asked where to find the superintendent salary info. You can go to Indy and click on data central. This will allow you to see the actual superintendent contracts for those in several counties. The superintendent in Franklin Township with a student enrollment of 8,828 students made $201,000; IPS with an enrollment of 34,050 made $283,800; Wayne superintendent with an enrollment of 15,384 made $239,657. The Decatur contract totals #283,287. These dollar figures, as pointed out by the Star do not include everything - cell phones, gasoline for vehicles, life insurance premiums, and other things. What is not known from this blog is whether Stinson's 15% decrease was 15% of his base pay ($189,287) or 15% of his total pay (about $300,000). Stinson was quoted by the Star in 2007 as saying, "I never dreamed I would make this much money but I work very, very hard and put in a lot of hours for this school district."

Anyway, times have changed. We need teachers in the classrooms. The superintendent will be paid way above the average at $150,000 total salary/benefits.

Anonymous said...

Good points, Obidiah. Couldn't agree more that those who deal with students on a daily basis are the ones responsible for test scores. However, what happens when the playing field isn't level? When one school sits disproportionalely with students of poverty, on free and reduced lunch, and/or those that have UNBELIEVABLY attrocious homelives??? Redistricting and make sure that all schools "share the wealth" IS the super's job!
Also, what about all those at Central Office making decisions about programs that simply DO NOT work for the majority of our students??? We teachers are FORCED to use instructional practices and materials that we KNOW aren't going to raise scores. However, if we do what we, as professionals and those who actually have contact with students, know is best--we get our hand slapped. Now who's reponsibility is THAT????
Does anyone else find it ironic that those who don't want to be near a classroom (many couldn't hack it) are making the decisions about how kids learn. "Research says..." Yeah, right. I'll put my years of experience but against any research. If only I was ALLOWED to do that which would improve those scores!

Had Enough Indy? said...

Hi all - my apologies for not being more prompt in responding here. I just got back in town and haven't had enough time to even scan all of your comments and suggestions.

I promise a string of replies tomorrow. What I could scan quickly looks informative and interesting. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Where is Mr. Harvey?

Anonymous said...

he is gone......

Anonymous said...

Why is he gone? Did they read his email again?

Anonymous said...

I heard they all lost their minds and blamed it on him

Anonymous said...

Wow, where to start. Phil Webster, I did not enjoy your 'kiss up' email that was sent to everyone. As I understand everyone has an opinion, and is entitled to share it, school email wasn't the place to do that. I don't get to send out emails with my thoughts, because I am not on the same page as those in CO, so they don't want to hear what I have to say. Then again, maybe to save myself from getting a RIF letter this Friday, I should kiss a little CO rear, could you show me how?

I understand the state of the economy, as all us do, we are not as stupid as you might think just because we are younger than you. But that is just an excuse. Stinson needs to man up and take responsibility. If the students in my room are not making progress, it is my job to figure out how to fix it and ensure that they are successful, if not there are consequences. I may need to try a different teaching approach for example.They are my responsibility. Hence, the whole district is Stinson's responsiblity. When something doesn't work out he is suppose to be the leader and take care of it. It appears that he is just there for the paycheck. It isn't like I see him walking the schools making contact with the students or teachers.

JTEM is a joke!!! Most of the district thinks so!! That is time that our students can be in the classroom. I am glad that he wants to try new things to get our students excited about learning, but if something does NOT work, then admit that it didn't work and move on.

The teachers in the district do know what the students need, what they do and do not respond to, and have ideas about new things to try. CO, coaches and principals should listen to us! We are there for the children, and want to see them succeed!! Maybe if more things flowed from bottom up, we would have more successful kids and programs.

I do not live in the district and am sad to say that because of the lack of leadership in the district would not send my child to a decatur school. Which is sad, because I know that there are wonderful teachers in the district, but they do not have the support of administration. I want my child to go to a district where even the top people care. There are wonderful administrators in Marion county, hopefully we will get one soon.

Obidiah said...

"However, what happens when the playing field isn't level? When one school sits disproportionalely with students of poverty"

Good point,and I agree. In fact,I alluded to such in my previous post. Starting with the word However and ending with the word manner. It's a class issue that isn't exclusive to Decatur. It was there 30+ years ago and one would think this would've been remedied/corrected in a much better manner. The prevailing attitude within Decatur Township is still a haughty,myopic and Anglo-Saxon tude.

"Redistricting and make sure that all schools "share the wealth" IS the super's job!"

I Agree.

"Also, what about all those at Central Office making decisions about programs that simply DO NOT work for the majority of our students???"

How fortuitous,you have an opportunity here at this blog to elaborate as to what these programs are, and why these programs are not working.Go for it.

We teachers are FORCED to use instructional practices and materials that we KNOW aren't going to raise scores. However, if we do what we, as professionals and those who actually have contact with students, know is best--we get our hand slapped. Now who's reponsibility is THAT????

I doubt if administrators are sitting in your class watching every move you make. I doubt there are cameras in the classroom. I simply don't believe you're being micro-managed to this degree. The classroom is your stage...Your canvas. We both agree there's something wrong. Is it the materials and practices? Or could the problem be those implementing such practices? Because.....I've seen teachers with superlative skills actually teach students beyond the expected requirements...And these teachers did this within a weak curriculum....I saw this at Decatur. It can be done. This part of your post seemed like a cop out. If the curriculum and materials are not to your standards as a teacher,why are you still there teaching? My query isn't meant to be irreverent,it's an honest question.

And again, this is another invitation for you to elaborate on the above mentioned concerns you've brought to the discussion. You're more than welcome to prove me wrong of my aforementioned assertions. The ball is in your court. Suit up and have at it.

"Does anyone else find it ironic that those who don't want to be near a classroom (many couldn't hack it) are making the decisions about how kids learn. "Research says..." Yeah, right. I'll put my years of experience but against any research. If only I was ALLOWED to do that which would improve those scores!"

This section of your post came off as nothing shy of petulant and petty. I'm not sure if this part of your post is indicative of genuine concern or simply a display of ego and hubris.

One last question to anyone out there....Are American school text books still being sanctioned by a small group of knuckle-draggers in Texas?



Anonymous said...

Thank you very much to the kind Gentleman who found the law about taking money from employees checks to cover seat damage.You are greatly appreciated!

Anonymous said...

Fellow teachers, help me out with Obidiah. Respectfully, Petulant and Copping Out

Anonymous said...

Obidiah-check out "Decatur's Culture of Fear"--might give you some insight to what education REALLY is all about! Obvioulsy, There are ALOT of "petulant, petty, copping out" teachers with good reason!!

Phil Webster said...

I was asked by one of the Anonymous writers to answer some questions that I assume were meant to be an indictment against Don Stinson. I wish Don would answer these questions himself and maybe he would if Mr. Anonymous had an open mind to the answers. Mr. Anonymous seems to have already condemned him. So because his post starts out Phil Webster I am going to give it a shot.

Who is at fault for the low test scores. We are all responsible to some degree. Please remember that many of our students are getting very high test scores. We recently had a student who was named a National Merit Scholar and receive a very good scholarship to Northwestern University. We have students who received the Presidential Scholarship from the University of Indianapolis. The success stories go on and on. I wish our school would hail the good but they do not seem to do that. Like any group those who score poorly bring the high scores down.
the point is that the students scoring well and recieving the scholarships go to the same school and are taught by the same teachers as the students who in some instances do not even attempt to answer the questions. They come to class without a pencil or a pen. Now how can we motivate these unsuccessful students. Everyone is engaged in attempting to find strategies to get them to a higher level. We ,like any researcher who is attempting to solve a problem, run into frustration and at times fail in our attempts. Thank goodness they do not stop trying. we have not stop trying either. we are trying to get these scores up each and every time we meet to discuss low test scores. Do you have any suggestions

Who is responsible for Don Stinsons high salary

I talking to a school board member and I was told that Don Stinson has never asked for a raise. The school board I assume felt that a raise was a reward for a job well done and it kept his salary competitive with other Marion County superintendents. If you recall Don asked the board to cut his pay 20 percent. I know you think that they are all in bed with each other . What do they call it the good old boys club. I guess I am not that synical. What does Payton Manning make. I guess Jim Irsay thinks he is worth it given the results of his play. I would think you are within your rights to call your local school board member and tell him that you think that Don is overpaid. And frankly I think you maybe right but that is not Don's fault

We do not have a new program or a change in philosophy every year. We did recently go through a big one with the development of the Small learning communities that was adopted by the high school two years ago. This new model is something that I personally believe in and came about from the research that students do better in small groups where they can develop better relationships.receive more relevent educational benefit and the faculties of each community could find more rigor in their subject matter. This transition for the industial model high school to the small learning communities was done with the input of faculty, members of the community and administration. Most of the research was done through grant money and we worked hard to reach a consensus on making this transition. We really will not see the results of this change for a while. I am confident that the results will be very positive for our students. I would be more than happy to discuss the small learning community concept with you further in a later post if you would like . I am running out of space so I will call this part 1 and continue with part 2

Phil Webster said...

Part 2
I assume you are talking about the 1 hour that the teachers meet in there communities and attempt to solve common problems and to review and question things that are going on within the community that are good and not so good. I assume they do this in Corporate American and I know we do it on our baseball staff. Its called brain storming. It is a good an necessary exercise that allows the community to function together to tackle common problems and to work together as a team for the mutual benefit of all particularly the students. Interestingly enough that is the thesis of the book the Isberg is melting. How do we work together to solve a common problem. This is why I got involve with this blog because I believe if we work together we will not need to lay off teachers and cut programs that will hurt our childrens education. So who ever was responsible for setting aside an hour a week to allow teachers time to plan together ,and commonly solve problems together an develop a relationship of trust should be give a slap on the back. I for one think it is a good thing

Susan Adams is a DCHS graduate. She is not the Dragon Lady. I have know Susan a long time and I have never know her to be unkind to anyone. She is hired to do a job. I am sure that she has her problems. I have had disagreements with her and even though we disagreed she was always respectful. I think that accusations need to be proven. Anyone that is misteated can file harrassment charges and there will be a full investigation done. Lets give her the benefit of the doubt. She is not an evil creature that comes from the deepest part of hell. She is first of all a wife and and mother who is attempting to do the job she was hired to do.

The teaching coaches and directors are part of the strategies to implement the small learning communities. Every business model has a componet of research and development that attempts to keep the corporation current and every good business model has good supervision which is the purpose of the directors and and the coaches. When these positions were created they were filled by already hired personel who were reassigned to a new position with a new name. They are necessary if the building is to run efficiently.
I do not know about the redistricting being late. But I am sure there is a reason. I do know that a lot of community members served on the community to redistrict. I wish some of them would join this discussion so you could see that Don asked for their input. Don does this when any type of change is contemplated. He is a community imput person.
As far a catered diners and Jeff Baer's replacement. Somebody has to be the business manager. As I undertand it the person they hired is shared with Perry Township school at a much reduced rate from what they were paying Jeff.
I do not know anything about diners. I know I like to eat so I assume these cost are paid by money they saved somewhere else.

I agree with you that the communication needs to be improved. That is why I think that this blog is good and healthy. It allows us to communicate over common problems and issues. I would like to see us start a radio station over the computer so we can have a common media for those wishing information.

I hope my answers have been informative.
Wwould you support a one time tax to solve the financil problem facing our township.

Obidiah said...

Part One

"Fellow teachers, help me out with Obidiah. Respectfully, Petulant and Copping Out."

If that's the best you can do,I'm disappointed.Your lack of a substantive response may be indicative as to why test scores are low.

"Obidiah-check out "Decatur's Culture of Fear"--might give you some insight to what education REALLY is all about! Obvioulsy, There are ALOT of "petulant, petty, copping out" teachers with good reason!!"

Good reason? That's simply an opinion.
Yes,I've read that particular thread. The writer known as Had Enough Indy brought up some pertinent points in the original post. Since the original post,there's been a number of responses that offer nothing more than histrionics and what I assume to be exaggerations. The din of static is a bit high in that particular thread. The Nazi analogy is over the top. When a self described teacher of the township resorts to using Godwin's law,that person and their argument(s) carry absolutely no credibility with me...Nor will their future comments.

"Where is Mr. Harvey?"

In the dining room with the candlestick holder?

Obidiah said...

Part Two

P. Webster:"Would you support a one time tax to solve the financial problem facing our township."

Not gonna happen in this climate. Plus,it appears the administration has squandered any semblance of goodwill among the folks in the township. From the look of things,the administration has ostensibly alienated itself among its staff and faculty. That's quite an accomplishment. You even mention in a previous post when speaking with friends and colleagues from other school systems,Decatur is looked upon in askance. Why is that? Don't answer,it's a rhetorical question. So,to answer the original italicized question...

Yes....But under the following...And my thoughts will not be popular with everyone. Perhaps no one at all will agree with the following suggestions.

Stinson steps down. Metaphorically speaking,he built a building of Scandinavian Birch when domestic Maple would've sufficed. It's a beautiful building..Was the old building really outdated? Or was this about aesthetics and keeping up with other school systems? I still can't help comparing the endeavor to what amounts to be (in my opinion) the purchase of the most expensive Persian rug and silk tapestries for a the attempt/hope to fix the dysfunctional family living within said home.

Cut the amount of administrators...not by one or two, but by a substantive number of administrators --including those in athletics. If the school system is genuinely about the kids of its township,the needs of the kids come first. Every initiative considered should be predicated upon that premise. Saving the careers of teachers,staff,et al. comes second. End of story. If teachers need to be cut...then so be it. But only as a last resort. When I read about the purchase of an astro turf field...I know the administration has lost its grip on reality.

Cut the pay of remaining administrators,as much as 20% if need be. Cut extraneous benefits as well,eliminate them if need be. Cut the pay of teachers remaining. It sucks,but bad times call for commensurate measures.Cut the pay of sub-contractors,such as yourself. If anyone balks,let them walk. There IS plenty of genuine talent out there. If teaching is truly a calling,asking retired teachers to volunteer their services shouldn't be a problem. Especially for those residing within the township.

I wouldn't cut teacher benefits, nor the pay and benefits of staff such as drivers,custodial,etc.

Aggregate a group of volunteers from among parents of students and retired teachers.

Get rid of the Concentric contract. If a building is needed,close the Armstrong Pavilion to the public and use it. It's not the role of the school system to offer a greatly and unrealistically reduced exercise gym to the residents. It's my belief the building was a vanity project to begin with.
Tear down the former JR High building on High School Road. This is a period of buckling up. And it's going to be a very long period.

I don't know why you remain sanguine about the economy. This time things are very different.

Obidiah said...

Part Three
The jobs lost are permanently gone. Too many displaced and underemployed. In a previous post,you wax poetically about how "our parents" worked to give us opportunities....Unfortunately,times have changed. And the post war prosperity of America was a fluke due to WWII. The foundations of that prosperity are gone today. The afterglow is and has been waning. It was inevitable.Have you driven outside of the US interstate system across the country in recent years? Larger cities notwithstanding,have you visited any small-mid sized cities/towns across the US recently as well? Muncie Indiana was once considered "The" American Town.
Today,Muncie is a shell of its former self. Saved only by the presence of Ball State. It's an affliction across the country among the small towns and cities-- large and small-- across the U.S. Retail in the US has peaked.And we still have another shoe or two to drop.Commercial real estate being number one and another credit card crunch is coming. Just think of how things have changed since March 9th 1980..30 years. The economy will eventually correct itself....But the resulting landscape will be a much different one. There is a growing bevy of empty retail space across the landscape...Just as there is a seemingly growing bevy of empty and boarded school buildings dotting the very same landscapes.

Obidiah said...


I will not accuse you of gratuitous "sucking up"as others have done. I enjoyed spending time in your classroom those many years ago. Learned a few things about people,myself...And even a thing or two about politics. And you turned me on to Mother Jones magazine. You've earned the courtesy.....No matter how much I may disagree with you. But....I do think you're a bit too close to look objectively at some of the folks being discussed on this blog. And to be candid,you can sometimes be as dense as a black hole in space. In all fairness,I'm guilty of this as well. Most often the latter instead of the former.

Finally,you mention your own concern with the lack of communication from Stinson regarding this blog and its content.....It's not just the lack.....But there's been absolutely no attempt (that I can glean) by Stinson,administrators,and board members to address the substantive issues raised and a willingness to contribute their thoughts to this blog.

So,I've extended to you a courtesy. Now,I'm going to ask one of you...

If you have his ear,perhaps it's time you use your diplomatic skills and suggest to him the time to respond is nigh.

Obidiah & His Possibles

Had Enough Indy? said...

anon march 7 10:41 -- the media get interested in what they get interested in. They do review the blogs and I know of a couple who have been in conversation with a few Decaturites. In the end, the report has to be visual for TV or of enough Central Indiana interest for the newspapers to follow up on. As for the latter, their education beat reporters generally side with whatever the school Administrators say, since those are the folks they rely on for news stories in the slow times. My opinion, obviously.

Anonymous said...

It would be informative to know if Decatur and Perry Township FACTUALLY are sharing a business manager. It would make sense to me for some sharing to occur in Marion county. Surprising that we would share with Perry since their student enrollment is so large - 14,213. Franklin Township appears, from media reports, to have $$$ concerns. Their enrollment is 8,828 and Decatur is 6342. If we shared some positions with Franklin Township the total enrollment, 15,170, would be less than Wayne Townshiip, Lawwrence Township, and IPS. Does Franklin Township have the same health insurance program and also belong to RISE for special education??? We might be able to share Superintendents also. Dr. Burk in Franklin Townshio used to work for Decatur.

Anonymous said...

Combining Decatur and Franklin could cause an identity crisis but it would save the cost of at least one car and one insurance policy. Just a hawk flash!

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:23

I do not know if I would want to share Burk, he got FC into the mess they are in. But sharing is a great idea. Look further outside the box to maybe your neighbor to the south even.

All I know is something has to be done, and the answers are there but I do not want a part of a "Part One, Part Two, Part Three" response so I will leave that for others on the board.

To solve many of the issues people who think outside the box need to come and play in the sandbox, but those already there need to share their toys or it will never work out.

Had Enough Indy? said...

DC - yes - I did a Q&A with Bobby last week and kept getting side tracked with other things. I'll get something up as soon as I can.

Had Enough Indy? said...

anon March 8 3:12 -- I haven't seen any hard number or clear explanation of whether Stinson's salary cut is 15% of base or take-home or total package. Good question, though. Especially since the teachers appear to be on the hook to cough up 5% of total package (sorry about switching metaphors mid-stream)...

Had Enough Indy? said...

anon March 9 9:23 -- a glimpse at the Perry Township School District website shows a Mike Bagley as interim CFO:

The MD-Times reported that Bob Harris is coming into Decatur at a $15,000 lower salary than Jeff Baer. Harris has been with us since February - so we are paying two salaries in these trying times. Plus, the promotion of Susan Adams added to the promotion of Aaron Hillard will eat up more than that $15,000.

So - no cost savings - in fact, just the reverse.

Had Enough Indy? said...

anons March 7 1:10 and 8:53 - thanks for the input. I'll pull down the numbers and get a link up in a new blog entry so folks can review the data for themselves.

Had Enough Indy? said...

anon March 7 6:21 -- let me see if I can find out anything about the recovery dollars. Thanks for the link.

Had Enough Indy? said...

anon March 7 5:59 -- I'll go look up Board policy 9130 right now.

Had Enough Indy? said...

anon March 7 5:59 - If I understand what you are saying, my first impression is that the policy protects the administration first and foremost - in that it makes employees go through the administration before they can even talk with a Board member. That would only heighten any anxiety about retribution. If the employees could file with a State or Federal agency and keep their identity shielded from the administration, they might feel more empowered to move forward with a complaint.

Mike Burrows said...

Hello all,
I'm glad to see Mr. Webster on here. I replied to Mr. Pelico concerning an e-mail I recieved that contained your letter about the Township and who is and isn't responsible. I doubt he forwarded to you but, I'll give the short, short version of my response.
IMO, the buck stops with Mr. Stinson. He is the "Head Cheese", "Big Kahuna", "Top Dog" if you will. I'm up to date on all the blah, blah, finances that every school district in the state is in.
As a non-school employee type person I simply feel that it is the Superintendent's as well as the School Board's fault we are in the situation we are in. Simply, because we (as a MSD) did and do not live within our means. I feel as a regular guy, I recieve a paycheck and live within it, if I get extra great.
I feel the School District did NOT live within it means and relied on too much State funding and not enough on local Township tax dollars. So when the Gov. pulled the rug out from unders the schools they went a flying. Having lived here a while I know about the Airport, and all of that but, that stuff didn't over-night. As our incoming dollars decreased our spending should have decreased.
I feel the spending on updating the DCHS was needed, that money was well spent..maybe a little lavish as all schools lately seem to be. Thus, the purpose of referendums. I do feel that some non-essential spending has occured that has not helped our current situation. I hope that supintendant and the school board will curtail that type of spending in the future.
Also, I'll use my name as you did. I hope it doesn't get taken out on my kids or wife. if i post something here and you don't like reply or contact me.

Had Enough Indy? said...

anon March 7 6:21 - the $4.6 m awarded with recovery money would appear to be part of a $626 million grant to the State of Indiana, which distributed the funds to all the school corporations (as best I can tell). It appears that this was in lieu of monies normally spent either by the State or the Feds. It is very difficult to be certain. But the lion's share of the money ($3.55 m) said it was awarded: "Funds expended through 12/31/2009 were used to restore approximately 9.5% of state funding levels for LEAs in accordance with the submitted state plan." I honestly don't know what LEAs stands for. $1.1 M went for "teaching ... students most at risk of failure", which sounds like Title 1 money.

If anyone knows anything firm, please add it to this thread.

El BuchaCho said...

LEA I believe represents Local Education Authority.

Anonymous said...

From Wikipedia.

Local Education Agency (LEA) is a commonly used synonym for a school district, an entity which operates local public primary and secondary schools in the United States, or provides government services to schools within a local area in the United Kingdom.[1]

In some instances, LEA is used to refer to an individual school, though this usage is less common.

Had Enough Indy? said...

I have read a number of references to Jeff Harvey, Principal of the Gold Academy at the DILC. On another blog entry comment section, I asked for anyone who could fill me in on the events to email me with the info.

A kind reader did just that. Here are the cliff notes of what that person told me - from what they had pieced together.

Harvey's contract was not going to be renewed, as part of the building level administrative staff cuts. He was interested in interviewing for the open Valley Mills Principal position and solicited written references at a staff meeting to assist him at his interview. In attendance at the staff meeting was Candice Baer, an Assistant Superintendent in the Central Office, and wife of Assistant Superintendent, Jeff Baer.

The next morning Harvey was called to the Central Office. At some point Superintendent Don Stinson sent out an email saying that Harvey had requested a leave and it had been granted.

Stephanie Hofer now appears to be in charge of the Gold Academy.

IMHO - that's how folks are kept in line in the Decatur School District.

I want to thank the blog reader for filling me in on the series of events.

Had Enough Indy? said...

Thanks El BuchaCho and anon 7:31 for the answer to what LEA stands for.

Anonymous said...

"Candice Baer, an Assistant Superintendent in the Central Office, and wife of Assistant Superintendent, Jeff Baer."

Just how many Assistant Superintendents does this school have?

Did Jeff ask for a leave or was he told to ask for a leave?

Had Enough Indy? said...

anon 9:36 - I should probably count the number of Assistant Sups.

As I understand it, Jeff Harvey was intending on interviewing for the open job at Valley Mills the very same day he supposedly asked for a leave of absence. The conclusion that he was given no option except to take a leave is more likely than any other alternate conclusion, in my book.

Anonymous said...


On Friday, please wear pink in support of:

- the teachers receiving pink slips
- the teachers who will have higher class sizes next year
- the students who will be in larger classes next year

OR(depending on how it shakes out)

-the teachers who will be taking a pay cut

Had Enough Indy? said...

I've enjoyed the conversation here, but we seem to be devolving away from facts and toward personalities.

Phil, I respect you and what you have done as a teacher and coach. Obidiah, you are a great example of the talented children of Decatur Township. I have never found a reason to doubt the potential of Decatur's youth - that is what makes the caliber of Decatur's education system so damned important.

Phil - I don't accept your assumption that the only choice is between cutting 70 teachers and a tax hike and I certainly do not accept your contention that a Superintendent and Board are not responsible for anything important, like results and how they have spent the money.

I must say that I am very concerned with the use of the pension system. Undoubtedly this is all quite legal. But, that doesn't make it right. It looks like the District is milking that system and hanging our finances out to the hairy, scary, edge of collapse.

So, I have two blog entries to work on - refreshing memories that there are other alternatives to laying off teachers and increasing class sizes and the use of the pension system in Decatur Township's School District.

Anonymous said...


Thank you for the info. in 9:36. This is exactly how people are kept in line. I do hope people will honor pink Friday because there are so many people to be hurt by this powerful supt. and board. Staff who wear pink on Friday will be taking a risk. Parents should send their kids to school with some sort of pink symbol - paper, ribbons, etc. Unfortunately, those who have made the senseless decisions will degrade opposition to the decision. How are the pink slips being delivered - US Mail or by Doc Rather and Candice Baer or others messengers?

Anonymous said...

Mr. Harvey is not the first to ride off into the sunset. This has gone on for a long time. May he RIP.

Anonymous said...

Lots of money in Decatur. Raise for Susan Adams? Consulting contract for Dave Rather if he retires?? Paid leave for Jeff Harvey??? Others????

Anonymous said...

Pat, I am sure there are many people reading this blog who would like to contribute to the two running for schoolboards' campaign by sending money,placing signs or whatever is needed. I know this can be expensive. Let us know what we can do and where to send money.

Anonymous said...

Well, I'm just SURE that Mr. Stinson will PERSONALLY visit with each teacher being laid off. In his company car with bus garage gas. Oh - nevermind. It's not time to solicit donations for United Way. I'm sure he'll make the principals do it for him. Or maybe the security guards that have been on duty whenever Stinson comes in contact with large groups of teachers. (Can't wait to see how a camera does as a bodyguard next year!)

Anonymous said...

Why is administration insisting on cutting bus driver hours from 6-7 to 4 a day? Why are the rise drivers which are now a part of our transportation dept considered a separate entity? If they are considered separate ,why are our sub drivers allowed to drive for them? All you need to be a rise driver is 30 hours of extra training. I am sure some of our regular drivers would be more than eager to take this training next year considering that most of them drive 8 or more hours a day. They are told no that they are not allowed to cross over. There may be 2 positions open on rise buses next year. Will they go to sub drivers instead of contract drivers? Will new subs be allowed to drive more hours and make more money? This is totally unacceptable to drivers that are losing up to 42% of their pay.Last Friday there were an unusually amount of drivers off sick. They didn't even have enough buses to cover the routes due to breakdowns and everyone not trained to drive flat nose buses.
They are hiring at least 10 new drivers for next year to cover all of the elementary routes we are going to have. This means they are going to have to buy at least 10 more buses. How is this saving money for the township? Another case of spending for no reason! All they have to do is have a couple of the elementaries start 30 minutes later and release 30 minutes later. We wouldn't need 10 new drivers or 10 extra buses.,.. How hard is this to figure out? Saving money is not Admin goal evidently as they have proved over and over again... I would much rather have a seasoned driver take my children to school than a brand new driver.

Decatur residents, Decatur Twp. Schoolbus Drivers need your support desperately.....Why should this money be given to new drivers and contract drivers pay be cut 41%

Anonymous said...

Anon 6:56

Something is terribly wrong with this scenario????? Have you spoken with Rosie about this???? Have all bus drivers been told this??

Anonymous said...

Rosie is the one who told us this.
You don't think Jeff Baer would talk to us do you? This man has been over tranportation for how many years? He has never had a meeting with us and he has never introduced himself to us.Looks like it will be the same thing with Susan Adams,I hear she had a meeting with maintenance a couple of weeks ago and told them she was their new boss but no meeting with transportation.They cannot be bothered with lowly support staff. When the 7 hour days were implemented some drivers didn't even have time to go to the restroom due to the long routes. When Baer was told this his comment was " Thats their problem" The people in this township have no idea how employees at all levels have been treated since that man was hired.

Anonymous said...

Understand. Because of Baer's performance there is reason for relief that he is retiring if we can just make it through this spring.

Hang in there.

To whom do bus drivers report? Rosie??

Anonymous said...

Yes bus drivers report to Rosie. Every raise we have had in the last ten years has mostly gone to pay higher insurance costs. Approximately ten years ago a single insurance cost was about $16.00 a pay. We are paid twice monthly. now a single policy is $156.82 a pay or $313.64 a month. A family plan is more than twice that a month.
Administrators pay nothing and teachers pay 16% and Twp. pays 84%.
New drivers are not even allowed to get insurance now.The township pays approx. $80.00 a month toward our insurance. {please let me know if these figures are wrong}. Now they are going to drop plan 1 and only offer plan 2&3. A person on plan 1 pays approx. $600.00 out of pocket for a colonoscopy ,.plan 3 pays $1500.00 out of pocket. So I figure on plan 2 it would probably be around $1000- $1200. Pay all of this on 4 hours a day pay? Impossible !!

Anonymous said...

Rosie? HAH! Theres your problem. She's as worthess as the day is long. I dare her. Call her with a problem. Call her for anything. For one she wont answer. Several days later she might call you back. In a sickenly sweet sugery sweet voice she'll tell you that she can't do anything; that's the way it is. WORTHLESS (notice how i spelled it with all caps because she's WORTHLESS). If it were up to me she'd be the first to go. Matter of fact when i get elected to the school board next year she's the first to go.

Anonymous said...

Only when all employees pay exactly the same amount per month for exactly the same insurance coverage will this country ever get the insurance problem fixed. Tell your senators and representatives and Obomba.

Anonymous said...

Rosie is a sweetheart of a person on a personal level, and probly a little too nice to have a job where she supervises anyone. Under normal circumstances Rosie could run the bus garage, but circumstances are no longer normal. Now Rosie is in the unenviable position of having to help Susan Adams cut the throats of bus drivers Rosie has known for years.

You have to know that Rosie hates doing this to old friends. But the Dragon Lady is coming to loot the transportation budget for all the spare change she can wring out of the little people's purses. Stinson and his cake-eaters at C.O. need more money to finance their fat cat lifestyles, so the bus drivers are gonna simply have to make do with a lot less. It's for the children, you know. BWA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA!

Rosie got a BIG pay raise here last year, it looks like. No doubt with the expectation that she'd do the heavy hitting for Susan Adams when it came time to throw the bus drivers under the bus. Well, the Dragon Lady is coming and the chickens have come home to roost for the Rose. If she can't do it, the cake-eaters will find someone who will. Phil Webster is trying to break the glass ceiling and get a fat-cat job at C.O. I'm betting he wouldn't hesitate to do Susan's throat-cutting.

Time to reduce the overblown number of C.O. cake-eaters with their $88,000 secretaries and send them looking for some other school district to loot. If we reduce C.O. staff by a half, then we won't have to move their bloated operation over to the Concentra building. Think of the savings, perhaps then we won't need to lay off teachers and support staff.

Time for someone on the school board to get some back bone and make the cynical phrase "it's for the children" truly mean something. We're sick of our board meetings convening with a 40 minute prelude of Stinson slapping himself on the back for all his "hard work" and then slapping the board members on their backs for all their "hard work" when all they've done is vote to let Stinson do whatever he wants with the district and OUR KIDS FUTURE.

Anonymous said...

Parents: you have no idea what Jeff B has in store for your children next year you think they walk far now you just wait. Just think if your ECC child lives in southwest hills and their home school is WN they are going to get on the bus and ride to WN then get on a shuttle bus and ride back to Lynwood two times a day.This man has NO heart he doesn't care about anything but himself

Anonymous said...

In response to March 7, 10:41 a.m. You obviously don't understand the rising drop out rate. High school kids with few credits are told they cannot possibly catch up and are encouraged to drop out. God forbid anyone spend their time to give encouragement and help them try to get back on the right track. People DO change but not if they are being looked down upon by those who could truly make a difference in their life.

Anonymous said...

RE: March 7, 2010 11:58 AM, don't forget the sidekick, Jeff Baer.

Anonymous said...

No one's forgetting Jeff Baer. In addition to his myriad duties of breaking in his already-hired replacement from Perry Twp, and combing the MSD for any loose change, he's now chasing after bus drivers, writing them up for speeding and tail-gating so there's a "paper trail" on drivers that he and Susan Adams have targeted for removal. Some of the bus drivers have dared to speak up at Susan's plans to cut their incomes by nearly half, and other drivers are targeted for termination simply because they are 20 year+ employees at the top end of the MSD's busdriver pay scale. Replacing them with low-paid entry level drivers would artificially look like a cost-savings, at least on paper, which Susan would then use as a justification for yet another pay raise as she has in the past.

Remember the phony "energy savings" reports she published after Stinson had rewarded her with a contrived "energy manager" job in central office? That might seem laughable because you can't turn off enough lights at the school to make up for the fat-cat salary and perks she got in her specially-created "energy manager" position, but she nevertheless used her phony "savings reports" to get bigger annual raises. Don't believe it? Follow the money trail.

Now our skilled, long time bus drivers have to be bulldozed out of the system because Susan thinks they're too expensive and, after all, to her one "flunkie" is the same as the next. Why pay more for a senior driver who knows the job, knows all the kids and parents, and can effectively carry the responsibility we place on those drivers each day? Drivers, like our teachers and other flunkies in the world of Don Stinson, Jeff Baer and Susan Adams, are all interchangeable cogs in the MSD's Administrative Fat-Cat Machine. You gotta keep "the Big picture" in mind, you know. That's their ballyhooed "vision" for the future. Their future, that is. The function the this MSD isn't for the benefit of the children, it's for the benefit of the administrators.

Some of you ought to journey down to Squealer's restaurant in Mooresville long about lunchtime. You'll doubtless get to see Susan and Jeff Baer, as well as other administrators in their 2-hour lunch-time "work sessions". It'd be interesting to see what sort of cake they order for dessert.

Anonymous said...

Maybe mud pie.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Had Enough Indy? said...

We all know that the School District is a Peyton Place. And, we all know that is distructive to any organization. Let's just try to hold back from naming the pairs.