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Schneider to retire in June

The longtime superintendent of the North Harrison Community School Corp. announced intentions to retire at the end of the 2006-07 school year at Monday night’s school board meeting.
Monty Schneider, who has 34 years experience in the central office, said yesterday that he believes the five-member board of trustees want to go in a different direction than he’s led the corporation.
‘It’s a tough job,’ said Schneider, a 1968 graduate of Corydon Central High School who returned there to teach two years before being hired as administrative assistant at North Harrison. After two years, the title was changed to assistant superintendent, a position he held for 17 years before succeeding Roger Williams as superintendent.
‘Some boards work together better than others do, and some work better with administrators,’ Schneider said.
He admits the past three or four years have been tough, and he blames himself for some of the turmoil in the school corporation, specifically citing the financial woes which led to eight teachers being laid off in 2005.
‘It’s bothered me greatly,’ said Schneider, whose last day will be June 30.
As rumors of his retirement began to circulate in the past few weeks, Schneider received calls of support as well as job offers.
Schneider said he doesn’t know what he’ll do when his retirement starts.
‘I’ve worked with a lot of great people in my 36 years in Harrison County, 34 (years) here (at North Harrison),’ he said. ‘That’s the problem with looking for a new job, I might have to move somewhere else.’
School trustee Fred Naegele asked Schneider at Monday’s meeting to reconsider retiring at this time.
‘I don’t think the timing’s right,’ he said. ‘I would like to see him stay with the school corporation … I think he’s a great asset to the community.’
Naegele asked board president Buddy Bosler not to accept Schneider’s resignation. But after discussion among the five trustees, it was decided that because there was already a motion made and seconded to accept the resignation, they would have to vote on it.
The motion, which was made by Ron Coleman and seconded by Gary Byrne, passed 4-1. Bosler and Bobby Chinn voted in the affirmative with Coleman and Byrne, while Naegele cast the lone nay vote.
During public comments, Schneider’s wife of nearly 27 years, Linda, who was attending her first North Harrison school board meeting, read from a prepared statement. She talked about her husband’s love for his job and dedication and commitment to the North Harrison community. She told how he coached the swim team for 10 years without any additional compensation to his salary, how he easily works 60 to 70 hours a week, and routinely attends school events, sometimes two or three in one day.
‘He always tries to do the right thing,’ she said, because as her husband has told her, ‘in this community, when you meet someone in the grocery store, you have to be able to look them in the eye.’
When she finished, nearly everyone who was at the meeting, which was held in the Morgan Elementary School cafeteria, applauded Monty Schneider. Many of them also stood to show their appreciation for his years of service.
Bob Morris was one of them. He served as a school trustee for eight years while Schneider was superintendent. He is one of several who thinks the current board forced Schneider into retirement. ‘I don’t understand the reasoning,’ Morris said. ‘The timing is terrible considering we’re starting a building project, we’re in the process of hiring a (middle school) principal and a guidance counselor. Losing all that experience, who’s going to lead them?’
He said that during his term as school trustee, Schneider ‘always got good evaluations … Our (schools’) test scores are good …
‘The finances aren’t as good as they have been, but that’s due to the state’ not making timely payments and cutting its funding, he said.
Morris said the five-member board should have the students in mind when making decisions, not their own personal agendas.
Lance Richards, principal at Morgan Elementary, expressed his appreciation to Schneider for recommending he be hired as principal in 1999.
During board communications, all but Byrne thanked Schneider for his years of service at North Harrison.
In other matters, Monday night, the school trustees:
‘ Scheduled a special meeting for tomorrow (Thursday) to discuss bids for the North Harrison Elementary School project. The meeting, which is open to the public, begins at 4:30 p.m. in the North Harrison Middle School library.
‘ Approved Feb. 19 as a snow make-up day.
‘ Agreed to transfer $200,000 from the Debt Service fund and $300,000 from the Capital Projects fund into the newly created Rainy Day fund.
‘ Accepted resignations from Patricia Miller as a second grade teacher who is retiring at the end of the 2006-07 school year, and Jason Mullis as boys assistant track coach.
‘ Approved the appointments of D.J. Hanen as technology director for the school corporation; Karen Rothrock as girls head track coach; and Rick Gunter as athletic director at NHHS.