LAFAYETTE, Ind. — This month's Lafayette School Corporation school board meeting was anything but mundane as agenda items included emergency repairs and emotional farewells.
Monday night's meeting saw a tearful goodbye between board members, an eighth-grader standing up for change within the school district, the appointment of two new principals and the approval of an emergency resolution to fund repairs for Murdock Elementary School.
The emergency resolution to fund repairs at Murdock
The LSC board approved an emergency resolution to fund roof repairs for Murdock Elementary, which experienced significant water damage in late February due to severe weather conditions, said Eric Rody, LSC’s Chief Financial Officer.
Buckets were placed throughout the school to catch the water leaking through the roof.
In normal circumstances, the board would advertise for bids and approve a bid at a later date. Due to the importance of the repairs, the board bypassed the advertisement period and immediately accepted bids.
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The board will be hiring the Etica Group, an Indianapolis contractor, as a project consultant at the cost of $28,500, which is around 6 percent of the total cost.
The board estimates that the project will cost around $750,000.
Sprague announces retirement
After 20 years, Rebecca Sprague announced that she will be leaving the LSC school board, saying she will be moving to Virginia with her husband.
Sprague appeared teary-eyed as her fellow board members shared a few memories with the audience.
“It’s been an absolute pleasure working beside you, for a long time, too. It’s going to be very difficult to find someone of your integrity and honesty and character,” said Kay Walton.
“It’s hard for me not to be emotional because she’s been my buddy for a long time. It’s hard to lose her from the board, but it’s also hard to lose her in my life. I know we will stay friends and stay in touch, but it’s difficult and she knows I love her, and I wish her the best.”
After wiping her eyes, Sprague spoke to the board and audience about her experience at LSC.
“This has been one of the best things apart of my life. I’ve really enjoyed this service to the community. I was a young parent at Murdock and the principal was Diana. She called me up and just said that there was an opening, and the board was looking to appoint someone, and she thought I would be a good fit and thought I would be interested,” said Sprague.
Bittinger shared with the board testimony that her fellow students wrote about their experiences regarding the lack of access to period products.
“I was at cheer practice and I didn’t have any feminine products. I was too scared to ask someone for a product. If there would have been products in the bathrooms, then I would not have had an issue and I wouldn’t have to worry. Anonymous,” said Bittinger.
Another testimony was read.
“Last year, I got my period and no one in the bathroom nor in the class had any products. I had to use waded-up toilet paper and I didn’t know that the nurse had any. As a result of not having any product I bleed through my pants.”
To address this issue, Bittinger offered up a plan to the LSC board on how to afford the change she wants to bring to LSC.
“I’ve come across this company called August, who work directly with schools to supply these products. I’ve gone ahead and nominated our school to them directly. If they don’t get back to us, I have other options in mind. We could apply for a grant through the YWCA, we could set up a fundraising page or we could have yearly or monthly drives. I’m asking you to create a sustainable solution to this problem by including funding in the annual budget to supply period products at all LSC schools.”
The audience and board applauded Bittinger for her willingness to stand up for such change.
The board told Bittinger that they would reach out to her later this week to discuss the topic in more depth.
LSC board appoints two new principals
Before the end of the meeting, the LSC board appointed two new administrators in the LSC district.
The board recommended and approved Denise Des Enfants as the new principal at Murdock Elementary School. Prior to this promotion, she served as Tecumseh Junior High School’s vice principal for the past nine years.
The board recommended and approved Frank Meyer as the new principal at Tecumseh Junior High School. He had served as Avon High School’s vice principal for the past nine years.
Noe Padilla is a reporter for the Journal & Courier. Email him at Npadilla@jconline.com and follow him on Twitter at 1NoePadilla.