Thanks to Dr. Yost’s report concerning EACS, the local newspapers have finally awakened to the inept and cloaked management of the EACS School Board and Administration. Unfortunately a JG editorial called Dr. Yost’s report “flawed” (May 18). It’s really sad that some of the television stations had nothing but a “crawl”. The people of New Haven have been protesting long and loudly for changes in the board operations and in equalizing board representation. We have long been portrayed as malcontents and troublemakers by the EACS system and the media. As it turns out, I feel we have been vindicated and have every right to be protesting and doing it loudly.

If our Mayor had not had an excellent alternate plan, then we would have been like many others who complain without a reasonable plan or solution. Mayor Terry McDonald has an excellent plan and was willing to adjust and compromise, but the EACS and Superintendent
Green ignored any of the plans and at times even refused to meet with the Mayor or his representatives to discuss the plan or any type of compromise. All efforts made by anyone from New Haven were ignored or rebuffed. On January 14, 2011 in the News-Sentinel, Dr. Green
states “We will not negotiate its decision to move forward with its plan.” The EACS plan is not a major redesign plan, but simply a feeble deception of one.

Mayor McDonald has done an excellent job with the finances for our city without sacrifice of services to his constituents. I am sure his expertise in financial planning would be of great value to the EACS Board, whether they think they need it or not. This dysfunctional organization running EACS obviously needs a qualified financial planner along with other more qualified people.

Let’s look at the EACS Board individuals. One member is missing in action 90% of the time because of a new job. Her next appearance won’t be until July on her vacation time. Superintendent Green has stated in the past that she is keeping her updated. My question
would be who works for whom?

We have another New Haven at Large member who moved to the Leo area several months ago and has had interests there for a long time. Where were her interests?

We have yet another member who is the Lead Administrator of Blackhawk Christian Schools. Where do his interests lie? Remember vouchers? Is there a conflict of interest?

Now we come to another board member who is on the board of the Timothy Johnson Charter School. Again, remember vouchers and conflict of interest?

Finally, the Board President campaigned and was elected on the promise of not closing any Monroeville schools. What is his position now?

It is truly interesting that the Board for EACS received Dr. Yost’s report in April, yet did not release its content until after the May election. I assume they were hoping against hope that their $89 million referendum would pass, knowing it really had no chance.

In the editorial in the Journal Gazette (May 18) “Another EACS Misstep” there is this statement; “But East Allen’s relationship with its faculty and staff is strong,” did they read Dr. Yost’s report? Do they mean they have a stranglehold on the faculty and staff? How can they
say this when their employees are afraid to say anything for fear of some kind of retribution? 750 employees were interviewed and the result was an employee feeling of mistrust, undue

pressure and fear. It took one retiring school principal’s letter of resignation to be published for all this to come to light. I praise him for his loyalty to his fellow workers and for speaking up for them.

Let’s talk about representation for the citizens of East Allen County on the school board.

The President, Neil Reynolds, paints a pretty picture of equality for the Harding area back in 1998. Others see it as the districts of lesser population taking advantage of the higher tax contributors by taking away their voting power. At that time the Adams Twp.-New Haven area contributed approximately 50% of the funding for EACS. The way the school board members were elected was passed in 1998 is the only one of its kind in Indiana and is not based on population. There are 5 other State-approved ways to select School Board members, yet Mr. Reynolds has stated he has no interest in changing the election process. Hmmm, wonder why. Could it be because he has a low tax base in his district?

I wonder why the Woodlan and Heritage projects got passed with just a board vote and petitions. An attorney affiliated with the State Board of Education stated, in his opinion, the process of the separation of projects, while legal, was definitely unethical. The ethical process would have been to lump all projects together for a vote by all. By the way, they completely left out the Leo-Cedarville area in monies for future projects in that area. Their buildings are aging too. I don’t think their board member has mentioned anything about that publicly. The referendum numbers show clearly the discontent with the school system. The results of 2902 YES votes to 5139 No votes clearly shows the dissatisfaction of the majority of the entire community with the EACS School Board decisions Then in a response to the results of this referendum Supt. Green states “*We’re disappointed (by the results), but encouraged by the fact we received 3,000 yes votes,” she said Tuesday night. “We’ll find out where the support is and capitalize on that support.” She doesn’t seem to worry about the 70% of the population. * Posted on Wed. May. 09, 2012 – 01:15 am EDT EACS disappointed by referendum failure I say she knows exactly
where the support is.

Now, let’s talk about transportation. WOW, guess what, they’re running short on money for fuel! Busses are traveling from here to there and there to here. Just getting the kids to the right schools is a major bussing issue I know they promised people they would get their kids
to afterschool activities, but they really think it all the way through. I don’t blame parents for wanting their kids to be able to participate in after- school activities, they are a valuable part of school, but I see busses on the road as late as 5pm with maybe 1 or 2 kids on it. One full size school bus was in a minor accident during Christmas break on Moeller Rd while taking 1 student to basketball practice in Leo. Luckily, no one was injured. But this kind of bussing can’t be a financially sound solution. It’s not just the fuel it’s the salaries of the drivers, extra miles on the busses, tires and repairs that will make it necessary to purchase new busses sooner than we
would have with normal bus service.

It might be a help if EACS didn’t pay $900 monthly for the Superintendent’s gas guzzling vehicle and fuel to drive back and forth to South Bend every week. With a salary of $147,805 per year, it would seem to me that this job would require a 5 day work week and residence in this area and maybe a much more economical car could be provided. She surely could provide her own gas as the other EACS employees do. I’m sure if any other administrators have the same gas allowances, surely these could be eliminated also.

I know this all sounds biased and I guess it is. I am from New Haven. I did not go to school here but all my children did. Way, way back when I was in school, New Haven was one of the highest ranking schools in the country. Of course, they had plenty of money then. I have no vested interest in the school system other than to want the best for the area. My children are grown and have families of their own. I have no grandchildren in the system or in the EACS district.

EACS school system is slowly self-destructing and it will take many communities along with it. One of the important things companies look for when looking at place to open a business is the quality of the community schools. If they are not up to par, the community loses. This affects the entire East Allen County and all school board members should keep this in mind. The number of people who have taken their kids to private schools and others who are either moving or wish to move but financially are unable are pretty staggering in this area. Our schools need to be a magnet, not a deterrent to drawing families and businesses.

Unfortunately the EACS boards through the years have not realized they must change with the times and not only adjust to new methods, but new technology and a dwindling budget. One of their most unfortunate choices of closing the least expensive schools to run, the grade schools, seems to be one of their most selfish and biased decisions. Keeping 5 expensive high schools open has been upheld for over 30 years, and is just as inappropriate as it is antiquated. Small children need to be close to home in order to have time to for homework, play and family. High schools kids can adjust to the longer bus rides much better than the little ones. The other is the decision to remodel Woodlan and Heritage without a proper citizen vote.

2011 statistics state that SWAC has approx. 7,000 total students with 1 high school. NWAC schools have approx. 6,300 and have only 1 high school. EACS has approx. 10,000 with 4 high schools this year. Next year there will be an Academy with a Jr High in a building originally a high school. There will be only 7th grade students and less than 130 Academy students, again opening an entire building for a few students. The other districts are far ahead of us and are able to offer their students the best of the best because they provide it all at one high school. The Academy is supposed to offer this wonderful opportunity, but only to a handful of students. Why can’t we offer the best we can do to all our students?

Please, please, please. Qualified individuals are badly needed to replace these inept and absent people. Individuals with education, business experience, budget experience, common sense, and most of all can think in terms of the entire district, not only the few they represent. Think about the future of your kids or grandkids and the generations to come. Consider what will happen if our communities stop growing and our children continue to leave because of the lack of job opportunities and social growth. The time is now, 4 Board positions will be open for election this fall. Call your community leaders to find out how to run for school board. Better School Board members are sorely needed.

Marcia Geller
New Haven IN 46774

POSTED: 06/21/12 at 7:09 am. FILED UNDER: Opinions