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New school board members take action at first meetings

Four new Vigo County school board members are transitioning into their new leadership roles. The board members had their first series of public and private meetings Monday night.

Posted: Jan. 7, 2019 10:48 PM

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) – Four new Vigo County school board members are transitioning into their new leadership roles.

The board members had their first series of public and private meetings Monday night.

Dr. Susan Powers now represents District 1. Hank Irwin is the District 2 representative. Joni Wise represents District 4 and Rosemarie Scott serves District 5.

As candidates, the now school board leaders pledged to be more transparent and build trust with the community.

Joni Wise says, "When issues arise the public needs to know. There are some things that we know that are protected by law that cannot be discussed but that's not to say that information still can't be given without giving up the specifics to help our community understand what's going on."

Now new members say they are prepared to take action to make good on campaign promises by raising good questions and carefully reviewing the items before them.

Dr. Susan Powers says, "That we keep the strategic mission and plans that we're working on first and foremost so that all decisions and actions are to benefit the schools and the kids and the staff that works in those schools."

Hank Irwin says, "I encourage anybody who has questions to come to the meetings. We have open calls for comments. We're willing to listen to anybody."

One of the first actions taken by the new board was selecting a president, vice president, secretary, and treasurer of the board of trustees.

Jackie Lower is keeping her title of president. Newcomer Hank Irwin was voted vice president. Paul Lockhart is secretary and Chief Financial Officer Bruce Perry is treasurer.

Some of the new members also shared more on what they hope to accomplish.

Irwin, who is also a farmer, says he wants to see agriculture education included in high school curriculum.

Powers says she has a passion for technology education and also looks forward to working with lawmakers to address teacher pay.

Wise says she wants to learn all she can about being a school board member. She says she is focused on issues dealing with the maintenance of school facilities and ensure they are safe for students.

Also at the public meeting Thursday, the board decided to allow the county to buy land on the Otter Creek Campus. This is to complete the road widening project on Lafayette Avenue.

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