Only Two Voice Concern Against Board Projects At Regular Meeting

Only Two Voice Concern Against Board Projects At Regular Meeting


The Salem High School Presentation Room was packed at Monday’s regular school board meeting for two reasons.

One was to see the board present Lions Awards and ROAR Awards to about 80 students and teachers at their regular meeting Monday night in the Salem High School Presentation Room.

Over half of that group left, only two from the remaining group spoke against and one for the $12.6 million projects. 

Deidra Gottbrath, president of the Washington County division of Indiana Farm Bureau said she had spent a lot of time on the phones talking with members and farmers about the proposed project and its affect on property taxes. 

She said she lives in a different school district and didn’t pay any attention to what was going on with Salem Schools.  

“And I know your-alls opinions and vote did not come without thought,” said Gottbrath. “But to a community member, it seems very fast paced and almost shooting from the hip. I feel like we may have deserved a few more answers to some questions. I feel like we’re kind of missing the boat on where the evidence shows, or the quotes of projects show that it’s economically feasible by clumping them all together. This all or none mentality has really done quite a defeat on people’s opinion of this project. I think everyone in the community can see that the school system is in need of some improvements.”

Although Gottbrath said the group deserved more answers, she posed no questions to the board. 

“I support the kids in this community. Maybe by not supporting this exact vote at this time. I’m not against the projects. All the other members are not against these projects, but they’re against the way it was approached. We support kids in this community by saying, we need to have farmers who can afford to continue to farm. With taxes going up, crop prices not going up to match that, we’re struggling to make a black line right now. Other community members are in the same boat. If they’re struggling to pay their bills already, i’m not sure how we’re supporting our kids by putting them in a bigger financial struggle with that as well. I encourage you to put a lot more attention to decisions like this.”

Todd Baker, a SHS graduate, spoke to the group and compared the combined package of projects to eating an elephant all at once. 

It feels like we’re trying to eat the whole elephant at once. I can eat an elephant one bite at a time. It looks like a rushed process,” said Baker. “I don’t think there is any need to rush these things.  Looking at what this is going to do to my tax bill, It’s a little bit concerning. I think that’s why a lot of folks are here. In the future, I think that’s something we need to look at. Anytime an elected official is looking at things, that’s where you have to separate personal feelings from ‘hey, what do my constituents want?’ ‘What are the constituents telling me?’ These people here are the employers. The elected officials work for us. If the majority of people are saying they’re not for this, then that’s where we have to be able to separate personal opinion. We need to take a deeper look and view each project on its own merits.”

Scott Hebard spoke in support for the projects.

I actually want to thank the board for making such a bold decision. I know a lot of people are up and arms about how this was pushed through,” said Heberd. “And a lot of this is going on about the money. I understand this is a very hot button topic. But honestly the biggest issue is against this music program and this music suite that’s being built. Time and time again, music has shown to improve our cognitive abilities. And it’s proven over and over again, study after study, that a good music program within a school increases the schools testing scores. Which in again will increase our funding through the federal gov. With that in mind, i want to thank the board for looking out and making such a bold declaration to take care of our music program not only for right now but in the foreseeable future.”

Mark “Bubba” Abbott presented a ROAR award Monday night to Kylie Crockett. Dr. DL Reed applauds in the background.
Salem Lady Lions Coach Jerry Hickey introduces his 2018 Class 3A Sectional Champs during Monday’s School Board Meeting.

The only other mention of the projects, was when board member Ron Haendiges pushed a few sheets of paper across the table.

In public session, he did not address what they were or who had delivered them to the meeting during its executive session.

Board President Rebecca White acknowledged that one petition was to put the project on the Nov. 6 ballot for a public vote and the second petition was to object to the project in general. 



The board presented ROAR awards to Kylie Crockett for her compassion to SMS math teach Gary Myszak, whose sister had passed away from a long battle with cancer. Bubba Abbott said although she had never had Mr. Myszak in class, she took the time to write him a letter expression her sorrow for his loss. 

Dr. Lynn Reed presented Erin Moore with the second ROAR award for being named 2018 Conservation Teacher of the Year. 


Band and Solo Ensemble Medal Winners:

  • Carolyn Casey – Trumpet/Gold
  • Brooklyn Davisson – Flute/Gold
  • Morgan Gilstrap – Clarinet/Gold
  • Elaine Houchin – Trumpet/Gold
  • Jude Kritzer – Clarinet/Gold
  • Evan Smedley – Snare/Gold
  • Ellie Spaulding – Clarinet/Gold
  • Isabel Tunney – Clarinet/Gold
  • Lucas Bower – Barritone/Gold
  • Sarah Call – Alto Sax/Gold
  • Chase Coleman – Alto Sax/Gold
  • Patience Gumaelius – Flute/Gold
  • Rebekah Paul – Flute/Gold
  • Holden Kidd – Tenor Sax/Gold
  • Gina Ries – Clarinet/Gold
  • Parker Blackwell – Tuba/Silver
  • Tyler Zink – Trombone/Gold
  • Ethan Bower – Alto Sax/Gold
  • Leah Scott – French Horn/Gold
  • Julia Casey, Emily Morgan, Rebecca McKinley – Flute Trio/Gold

Math Counts

  • Julia Casey
  • Zion Dunaway
  • Matthew Johnson
  • Sebastian Miller
  • Tennille Sorrels
  • Lucas Bower
  • Chase Coleman
  • Madeline Galvin
  • Taylor Garvin
  • Patience Gumaelius
  • Madalyn Irwin
  • Jacob Rose 

SHS Vocal Soloists

  • Autumn Harley
  • Cora Saunders
  • Justice Brown
  • Zec Morris
  • Nathan Smith
  • Isaiah Weill
  • Andrew Hoskins
  • Kaden Hebard


  • Dylan Carpenter
  • Evan Raye
  • Aaron Hollen
  • Isabelle Foster
  • Woodlan Brown
  • Jalen Stephens
  • Austin Hollen

Lady Lions Basketball Team

  • Callie Backherms
  • Jamie Taylor
  • Mackenzie Underwood
  • Ashton Thompson
  • Hope Tomlinson
  • Lexi Garloch
  • Karly Sweeney
  • Leah Miller
  • Kylie Brown
  • Lettie Nice
  • Brooklyn Brown
  • Katie Ezzell
  • Allison Cauble
  • Bailey Hypes
  • Charity McFelea
  • Lydia Minton
  • Olivia Weber

SMS Math Bowl Team

  • Brady Briscoe
  • Jackson Brough
  • Noah Deaton
  • Adam Mull
  • Nick Ingram
  • Gaven Mancine
  • Kayla Houchin
  • Kaden Glass
  • Japeth Webb
  • Leanna Springer
  • Audrey Bower
  • Chloe Zink
  • Brandon Cornwell
  • Hunter Trainor
  • Rachel McKinley
  • Cayden Smith

The Board made the following personnel recommendations


  • Joseph Bortka – resignation as SMS Wrestling Coach
  • Kayla Shouse – resignation as SMS Track Coach
  • Josh Lewis – resignation as SMS Boys Assistant Track Coach
  • Megan Napier – resignation as SMS Boys Assistant Track Coach
  • Cecil Evans – resignation as Girls Assistant Track Coach

Extra Curricular Activities Hires

  • Cecil Evans – SMS Boys Track Co-Coach
  • Josh Lewis – SMS Boys Track Co-Coach
  • Jennifer Martin – SMS Golf Coach
  • Megan Napier – Girls Varsity Assistant Track Coach
  • Chris Mahuron – SMS Girls Assistant Track Coach
  • Joe Philpott – Volunteer Assistant Varsity Boys Golf
  • Alaina Davidson – Volunteer Assistant Softball Coach 


  • Marion Mauck – Temporary Attendance Clerk
  • Jill McKinley – Grade 4 Maternity Leave
  • Marla Mead – Grade 4 Maternity Leave
  • Kellie Stewart – Grade 1 Medical Leave


The following donations were approved to Salem Schools

  • Donation to SHS Junior Class Concessions for $1,000 from an anonymous donor
  • Donation to SHS Clay Target Club for $500 from Lineal Contracting, Inc.
  • Donation to SHS SADD for $1500 from Washington County Substance Abuse Council
  • Donation to SHS Golf Team for $250 from Joe Stout
  • Donation to BSE of $50 from Mercedes Roll to be placed in the Kindergarten ECA account
  • Donation to SHS Clay Target Club for $1030 from National Wildlife Turkey Federation
  • Donation to SHS BPA from Businesss/Individuals to be used for state competition in March
  • Donations from local businesses pertaining to the Community Dinner on March 6


  • Board approved an overnight field trip to Tunnel Mill Camp for the Science Club for April 27-29. 
  • Board approved an out of state field trip to the US Air Force Museum in Dayton, OH for Mr. Mullins “Tie Guys” on April 7. 


The board gave Assistant Superintendent Kim Thurston permission to cancel checks according to state guidelines. 

“We will follow Indiana code following procedure of cancelled checks,” said Thurston. “These will be cancelled and receipted to general fund.”

Steve Motsinger made a motion. Mark Abbott seconded. The motion Passed 7-0


The board set the upcoming High School Graduation date as Saturday, May 26 at 2p.

Abbott made a motion. Monica Spaulding seconded the motion. The motion passed 7-0


In order to prepare for budget season, the board needed to adopt a 2019 budget process.

“The proposed calendar follows corresponding dates utilized in the 2018 budget process,” said Thurston. “We should keep in mind that 2019 will be a completely new process for developing and adopting the school budget. Given that, We should keep in mind that this calendar is fluid and subject to change as we receive information from the Indiana Department of Local Government Finance.”

Dr. Tricia Wheeler made a motion to approve. Erica Garloch seconded the motion. It passed 7-0


Thurston said additional appropriations were needed for the rainy day fund and transportation fund for remainder of 2018. He said they were tracking close to last year.

“We would seek an additional appropriation of $60,000 in rainy day fund and $100,000 for transportation. Both funds show sufficient cash balances,” he said.

Thurston said advertisement will appear twice in March, followed by a hearing in April.

He said paperwork would then be sent to state for approval.

Motsinger made a motion to approve. Spaulding seconded the motion. The vote passed 7-0


Garloch, Haendiges, Dr. Reed, Dr. Thurston and Kelly Kitchel, Salem’s Loss Prevention/Risk Management Consultant met on March 8 to interview prospective brokers/agents for the property casualty insurance renewal for 2018/19.

The three interviewed were: 

  • Kyle Browning from Witkemper Insurance Group
  • Jason Bukoswki with Moore-Shepherd Insurance
  • Kevin Kreckler and Debbie Hurst from Assured Partners

Thurston recommened hiring Moore-Shepherd Insurance.

Haendiges made a motion. Abbott seconded the motion. The motion passed 7-0. 


The Indiana State Board of Accounts recommended the board approve affidavits for payments prior to submission to US Bank in Louisville. This affidavit for payment will be taken from the 2016 Construction Funds and are for the final payment request for the remodel of the Bradie Shrum office and computer lab. 

Motsinger made a motion. Wheeler seconded the motion. The motion passed 7-0.


Dr. Reed asked the board to approve a stipend of $250 for Kean Garvin and Mark Coombs for additional bus work during the frigid weather. 

Reed said the board had agreed last fall that all future stipends would be merit-based. 

Abbott made a motion to approve. Garloch seconded the motion. The motion passed 7-0


Salem High School Principal Troy Albert spoke to the board about a new opportunity for our high school freshman.

“We would like to ask permission to speak to freshman and their parents about a trip to Pigeon Key, Florida in March 2019 for any of next years’ sophomores,” said Albert. “It is through World Strides and called Splash Into Science. STEM activity for science and possiblity of getting an elective college credit. Unique opportunity will allow students to experience marine biology and to learn of all the careers that are there. We’ve worked with them for 4 years.”

Albert’s wife, Karen, said she is a retired science teacher and recommends the trips. “It creates such enthusiasm with the kids. It’s 5 days in March – from the 20th to 24th. We fly out early and fly in late. They hit the road as soon as they land and start making stops.”

Karen said students are taken to the turtle hospital so they can see things that are happening in the ocean that are affecting the turtles.

“This is a very science oriented program. Would really enhance the biology that they’re finishing up as freshman. Swim with the dolphins. Learn about anatomy. Snorkle in coral reef. Identify different kinds of fish, reefs…so they know what they see when they go out there,” she said. 

The cost is $2000 per student, which is all-inclusive. 

White said she had heard of the program from other schools. “It’s such a success. Such a great opportunity. We live in a landlocked state. I’ve had two daughters who wanted to be marine biologists. I’ve heard so many great success stories from other schools.”

Troy said he had investigated the costs to do the same program on their own. “I tried to see if we could do this on our own….it would cost $3800. There is a significant savings by going through this company.”

He said the program would tie in some of the career and college readiness and also provide college credit for the students. 

The board approved the project to go forward



Dr. Reed told the board the school has received permission from the state to have the e-learning date of Thursday, March 22.

“We will be sending home letters and have a link online if the child needs transportation,” Reed said.

“We’re going to run buses from normal start time until about 11a. If any child needs transportation we will make that available through our bus routes. We are asking that children sign up by Monday at noon so we can coordinate the routes. Just for Thursday. If you have internet at home, they don’t have to come in. The transportation is for children who don’t have internet access at home. We will have all buildings open. Staff will be in the computer rooms. Next year, we’ll probably open one building. They can come into one building.”

Reed also reminded the board and the public of the SHS Choir Concert Tuesday night and the band concert on Thursday night. 


Reed also noted plans were moving ahead with Salem Schools as a pilot program with Net Talon, the safety company behind the Safest School in America – which is in Shelbyville, IN. 

She said the middle school will likely be chosen since it has the fewest students. 

White noted the next regular meeting will be April 9. 

Wheeler made a motion to dismiss. Motsinger seconded the motion.