Wednesday, January 9th, 2013
By Amy Kronenberger
Parkway BOE has new member
  ROCKFORD - Parkway school board welcomed a new member on Tuesday after Terry Keiser resigned his position.
Treasurer Debbie Pierce swore in Rockford native Ryan Thompson during a special meeting. Thompson was chosen from three other candidates. Board members agreed his education experience made him the best candidate.
Thompson is a special education administrator at Adams Wells Special Services Cooperation in Bluffton, Ind. He's worked in education for seven years.
"All four were great candidates, but it was his background in education that made him stand out," superintendent Greg Puthoff said.
Other candidates interviewed last month were Melissa Burch and Steve Samples, both of Rockford, and former board member Dana Smith, Willshire.
Thompson said he wants to serve on the board to give back to the community.
"This is the community I grew up in, and after college I looked forward to moving back and raising a family," he said. "I'm happy to have that opportunity to help the community and get involved."
Thompson and his wife Leah have three children, a seventh-grader and second-grader who attend Parkway and an 8-month-old.
During the board's regular meeting, Pierce said the bond issue that paid to build the new school dropped 1.9 mills to 5.8. A $100,000 property owner will save $67 per year, paying about $203 annually on the bond.
Pierce refinanced the debt last year, which decreased the interest rate from 4.32 percent to 2.98 percent. The millage also dropped because the board in June used nearly $410,000 remaining from the building project to pay down the debt, she said.  
"I was happy with the 1.9 mills," she said. "That's good news for the taxpayers."
Puthoff told board members he is continuing to look at building safety. New policies will include decreasing the time the outside doors are unlocked before and after school and a warning system that sends red flags to technology coordinator Tal Bates if a student types certain key words into a computer.
A lockdown and evacuation drill will be held sometime this spring, he said.
In other action, board members approved retirements for four teachers, all effective at the end of the school year. The teachers are Art Bader, second grade, 38 years of service; Traci Robbins, second grade, 30 years of service; Dennis Hinkle, industrial arts, 38 years of service; and Michael Schumm, high school science and varsity baseball coach, 35 years of service.
"We're losing four great teachers, really great people," Puthoff said.
The board also approved coaching contracts for spring sports and elected Kim Brandt and Tom Lyons as board president and vice president for 2013.
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