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NHCTA files grievance on behalf of librarian

The North Harrison Classroom Teachers Association has filed a grievance against the North Harrison Community School Corp. on behalf of Jane Smith, an educator for 41 years.
Smith has been an employee at North Harrison for 38 of her 41 years in education, including the last 21 at North Harrison Middle School as the librarian. In addition to her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in elementary education, Smith has another graduate degree as an educational specialist, a degree designed for directors of education.
According to Carol Mooney, UniServ Director with the Indiana State Teachers Association, Smith ‘has a personnel file full of positive performance evaluations from many different administrators through the years.’
But, Mooney said, ‘this (school) year has been strikingly different than (Smith’s) first 41 years in education.’
The NHCTA and Mooney contends that Smith is being pelted with ‘critical notes, e-mails, reprimands and memos’ from Karen Lambertus, the first-year principal at North Harrison Middle School. Smith also has repeatedly been called to meetings that now include North Harrison Supt. Phil Partenheimer. During these meetings, Smith is being criticized for the way she has bar-coded books and printed labels for books.
‘Ms. Lambertus has no background in library sciences, but she routinely tells Jane she’s wrong and substitutes her judgment on the smallest things,’ said Greg Rupp, a teacher at North Harrison and president of the NHCTA. ‘She tells Jane what brand of book labels must be used. The micromanagement is really disruptive to the library.’
Rupp also contends there are two different sets of rules being used regarding sick leave, ‘one for Jane and one for other teachers,’ he said.
Based on Smith’s treatment, Rupp and Mooney said they believe the school corporation is trying to force Smith to retire, which could save the school corporation money.
‘This is not the way to treat people,’ Rupp said. ‘It’s just wrong, but so is the fact that we’ve had no contract for four years.
‘A state fact finder issued a report completely supporting the teachers in our contract proposals,’ he said. ‘This superintendent and board don’t care; they listen to no one.’
Dr. Partenheimer said yesterday (Tuesday) that he was ‘surprised’ that the NHCTA would publicly release a teacher’s name as part of a grievance.
‘I won’t discuss teacher performances in public,’ he said about the grievance.