Pana School Board: Retiring Members Honored; Vow To ‘Defend Position’ in Lawsuit
WITH A COMBINED 32 years of service to the Pana School Board, members Karen Mizeur and Don Allen, in front holding plaques, were honored prior to the start of the April School Board meeting held in Pana High School on Monday, Apr. 18.
Allen has served as president of the board and Mizeur, secretary.
From left are Dr. David Lett, Pana School Superintendent; board members David Koontz, Clint Foor, Karen Mizeur, Aaron Schafer, Don Allen, Dr. Bill Beyers, John Metzger and Assistant School Superintendent, David Dively.
(Tom Latonis Photo)
Two Pana School Board members finished 16-year careers on the Pana School Board at the regular monthly meeting held in the Pana High School library on Monday night, Apr. 18. Board President Don Allen and Board Secretary Karen Mizeur, attending their final meeting, were honored in a brief ceremony before the session.
In the ceremony, Dr. David Lett, Pana School Superintendent, characterized the careers of each board member in one word. For Mrs. Mizeur, his word was “perspective.”
“She always brought to the board a well-grounded perspective,” Lett said. “Working at Kemmerer Village, serving as a teacher’s aide, being a parent and a rural resident, her background made her well-suited for the job.”
Board member and vice-president, David Koontz, quipped she also “brought the female perspective to the board.”
“Passion” was the word Lett selected for Mr. Allen.
“No one has the passion of Don when it comes to not giving up and doing what is right for our students,” Lett said.
The Superintendent also highlighted the accomplishments of the District during their twin 16-year terms on the board, including the building of the new high school, making the annexation of the Tower Hill School District “smooth and seamless,” their professionalism and setting a high standard for administrators, teachers and staff. He also praised them for their work in maintaining healthy fund balances so the district would be “able to weather the storm.”
From their views, Mrs. Mizeur said it had been her “honor to serve on the board.”
“It doesn’t seem like it has been 16 years,” she said. “It has been a great learning experience.”
For his part, Mr. Allen said he, alone, was not responsible for the work which has been accomplished.
“It takes the whole board to accomplish great things,” he said. “All I have done on the board is what I have done during my life – lead by example and show others what can be done. I am very proud of our staff, old and new.”
Once the meeting started, the board went into executive session to discuss employment and probable litigation. Newly elected board member John McLeod was invited to sit in on the closed session. They emerged from behind closed doors after 90 minutes.
During the report of Superintendent Lett, Secretary Mizeur read a statement concerning the Board’s stand on a lawsuit filed by the City of Pana against the school district, Lake Land College, Christian County and Pana Township over the city’s Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District.
In the statement, the board says they “Will vigorously defend its legal position that the City of Pana’s Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District and its adjoining Redevelopment Plan did not meet all statutory requirements when adopted by the Pana City Council.”
Continuing, the statement concludes, “The Pana C. U. S. D. #8 Board of Education regrets that such action is deemed necessary, but believes it has a duty to its constituents to defend the future financial interests of the District as well as the integrity of its educational programming on behalf of its students.”
No other comments were made following the reading of the statement.
Since the City of Pana filed their request for Declaratory Judgement in the Fourth Judicial Circuit Court on Apr. 8, the Pana Township Board and the Christian County Board have each voted unanimously to “opt-out” of the case, meaning they will abide by the ruling of the court. This leaves just the school district and the Lake Land College District as the defendants in the case.
The board also made a correction to last month’s meeting minutes concerning the vote to pursue legal action if the city approved the TIF District and the redevelopment plan. It was noted that member Bill Beyers’ motion included continuing negotiations with the city over their differences.
A chiller on the roof of Pana High School, which was struck by lightning and damaged last summer will be replaced. The board approved the replacement at a cost of $89,950. Knearem’s Commercial Services of Shelbyville submitted the low proposal for replacement.
With insurance money, the district has around $66,000 for the chiller unit. The remaining $24,000 will come from funds already available to the district in their “QZAB Fund.”
While the district is dealing with aftermath of this lightning strike, it was reported the high school was hit again during a storm on Sunday, Apr. 10. Affected were two air handling units on the roof, the bell system, sound system and computer network. Repairs are either on-going or have been completed. Once the bills are totalled, it will be decided if an insurance claim will be made.
There will be a special meeting on Wednesday, Apr. 27, at 6:00 p.m. in the Unit Office on East Main St. to seat re-elected members Dave Koontz and John Metzger and elected members Rosemary Carlson and John McLeod. Election of officers and selection of the date and time of meetings will also be established.