Schneider made the grade during tenure
Last week, Monty Schneider tendered his resignation as superintendent of the North Harrison Community School Corp.
His action, which was approved by the five-member school board of trustees, culminated months of speculation that his time at the helm was coming to an end.
And while we now know when Schneider’s last day will be (June 30), the public still doesn’t know whose decision it really was for Schneider, 57, to retire at this time.
Some believe the school trustees left Schneider no choice but to retire. Schneider, being the classy gentleman that I have found him to be, will only say that he believed the school trustees want to go in a different direction than he has been taking the school corporation.
As I think back to what each of the five trustees told me during interviews at school board election time, I don’t recall any of them saying they wanted to replace Schneider. For the most part, they believed the school corporation is a good one with great employees; that the corporation was in sound financial shape but they wanted to insure that money was spent wisely; and, one board member, who is completing his first term, said he didn’t see anything pressing that needed to be changed.
So what happened?
State funding cuts and late payments put North Harrison, as well as many other school corporations, in the financial situation where they had to borrow money, thus leading to money going towards interest payments. And thousands of dollars have gone towards an Bloomington attorney who has been advising the school trustees in recent teacher negotiations. (Whether the lawyer’s advice is sound or not is another matter.)
But the financial woes can’t be blamed on Schneider, as all money spent by the corporation is approved by the school board. One trustee said in his candidate interview that handling the finances is one of the board’s duties.
Money matters aside, the current board members all have said that education is important.
Well, under Schneider’s leadership, North Harrison has amassed a top-notch staff of teachers and administrators. Some have had to work under not-so-great conditions, but the students’ test scores haven’t suffered because of that. Is there room for improvement? We should continuously look for innovative ways to educate our children. If for no other reason, the ever-changing world of technology demands it.
Schneider has dedicated his entire adult life to education, starting first in the classroom then moving into administration. He’s been at the helm of the North Harrison school district the past 17 years.
His position as superintendent started rough ‘ his second day on the job he had to fire the contractor in charge of the high school building project ‘ and it’s concluding on even a tougher note. Having to recommend the lay off of teachers two years ago was a low point for him.
While I may not be privy to the inside scoop of the school corporation, and I’ve only lived in the North Harrison school district for nearly three years, I have regularly reported on this school corporation the past eight years and have known Schneider longer than that. Of the superintendents I have dealt with, he is the most straight forward of them all. (The late Carl Uesseler was another great superintendent I had the privilege to work with.) Schneider has always been available when I’ve had a question or needed more information, and documents have been provided for viewing.
Schneider’s retirement is a tremendous loss for North Harrison, and he will be greatly missed. I doubt if he’ll stay unemployed for long. He has too much to offer to do that. I wish him the best in whatever he decides to do.
Now it’s time for the community to band together and prepare for the future. It’s what Schneider would want everyone to do.
Voice your concerns to your elected school officials so they know what their constituents want. Whether they will listen or not is unforeseen, but at least you know you will have tried. And when it comes to education, isn’t that the least we ask of our students, that they try?