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Union North School Board Considers Corp. Name Change

July 15, 2011

07/18/11 With an August 2 school registration date for LaVille Elementary School, the expanded parking lot project and restoration of the current parking lot already in progress must continue to move forward.

According to Principal John Farthing, Phend & Brown contractors have assured him that the paving, striping and drying process will be completed by the registration deadline.

A portion of the project was changed during a meeting of the school board on Thursday night. Originally, the existing driveway between Tyler Road and the current parking lot was to be skimmed and then repaved; however, Superintendent Dr. Terry Barker told the board members that Phend & Brown advised him that it is necessary to go down farther before paving to avert having cracks and holes that could occur as  soon as 3 to 5 years. Barker said the concern is for the bus and car traffic that the driveway experiences. Barker requested that the base price of $11,000 set for the entire original project be increased to a limit of $37,482 to allow the deeper cut of 2 inches into the pavement. Barker said, “I do believe this is the right thing to do.” Barker also indicated that the contractor was informed to contact him if they see an issue before proceeding.

Once the pavement is sealed and receives regular maintenance, the pavement lifetime is expected to be some 15-20 years, according to Barker.

The board voted unanimously to approve the change order.

Among personnel approved for the 2011-2012 school year are two full-time math teachers. Susan Krizmanich was hired as a full-time teacher and will be paid through the regular teacher salary funds. Kasey Woods was also approved as a full-time math teacher, but will be paid for through an ARRA (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) Job Funding Grant.

According to Superintendent Terry Barker, the grant is only good for a one-year period. Barker said, “As things progress, we hope to be able to keep both of them.”

Although listed on the agenda for the July 14 meeting as a discussion item only, the topic of possibly changing the name of Union-North United School Corporation to LaVille Schools prompted some comments from patrons prior to the meeting. Superintendent Barker shared his thoughts that this might be the right time to consider a name change since many patrons and others around the state commonly refer to them as LaVille Schools. Barker said, “This would give us an immediate sense of identify.”

Barker referenced a letter from patron Ronnie McCartney, but did not read the contents of the letter out loud. Barker. Board Member Dave Grenert indicated that the letter contained an opinion from an historical aspect. Originally, the corporation was named Union-North as the two townships joined together to establish the school corporation. Grenert said, “Compromise was necessary even from this corporation.”

Patron Cathy Rush, spoke briefly at the meeting saying, “I didn’t think it was a big deal.”

Mike Berger, board member, said he had heard concerns from some patrons that there would be a need to re-letter the school buses if the name were to be changed.

Grenert said, “This is one of those things that is difficult to get a real read on.” He said, “I’ll be listening to the constituents.” He added, “I’m not leading the fight I am a representative. I want to answer their (patrons) questions in a way to not influence them.”

Berger seemed to echo Grenert’s thoughts saying, “I think this is the chance for them (patrons) to call us.”

Board members Mark Dickson and Rob Swathwood both spoke in favor of changing the name. Dickson said, “This is absolutely the right time; but he too said they needed community input.

According to Barker, the cost of a name change is minor and only requires a board resolution.

Patrons can contact any of the five board members or Barker on the matter or email concerns/opinions at