FRANKFORT, Ind. (WLFI) - The bad news was in abundance for the Community Schools of Frankfort, between accounting errors totaling more than $1 million, a big drop in test scores, the elimination of teacher jobs and a principal under investigation.
The school board approved an appropriation increase of more than $2.2 million Tuesday night. Superintendent Don DeWeese estimates most of it, $1.5 million, comes from accounting errors, for example using the wrong funding sources to pay bills. Also, he says estimates for health care and utility costs were missed by hundreds of thousands of dollars.
To cover the shortfall, $340,000 is needed. That number includes $79,000 needed to buy out the contract of previous superintendent Les Bivens.
"As superintendent I have to take responsibility for those things. There's nothing illegal. There's no money missing, We just made some mistakes," DeWeese says. "I'm the one that's responsible for it and I'm the one right now that, we're going to make it right."
As part of an effort to cut $1.2 million over the next 18 months and balance the budget going forward, Frankfort schools is riffing four classroom aides. Plus, it is not filling three teaching and two administrative jobs this summer.
The Board also learned Tuesday that more than one in three third graders did not pass the IREAD-3 exam this year. The pass rate dropped more than 15 percent, from 64.1 percent in 2013, from 79.4 percent in 2012.
DeWeese says he will be looking at making sure schools have the best second and third grade instructors in place, as well as helping students be more prepared for taking standardized tests online.
"We're unsure of exactly what happened. We find it unacceptable also," says DeWeese. "We have had 3-4 years of good success and sometimes it goes down one time, you don't abandon ship yet. We still have some good things in place."
The Board also approved a move to put Frankfort Middle School Principal Mike Ettenberger on paid administrative leave, retroactive to April 23. Few details are available but DeWeese says an employment investigation is ongoing.
Food Finders unveiled a new online fundraising challenge that could raise an additional $40,000 towards feeding the hungry.
It was almost a year ago when Frankfort Police Chief Troy Bacon asked residents to report anything suspicious they see, especially drugs.
Pride Lafayette Inc. is commending the mayors of Lafayette and West Lafayette for their stance against a proposed constitutional ban of same-sex marriage. But other major community entities have yet to take a stand for or against it.