Greater Clark County Superintendent finalist questioned at special meeting

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by Chelsea Rabideau

WHAS11.com

Posted on June 7, 2012 at 11:26 PM

JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. (WHAS11) -- The taxpayers of Greater Clark County Schools were given their first chance to grill the board’s finalist for the superintendent position. Andrew Melin would replace Stephen Daeschner, who also spent 14 years as the Jefferson County superintendent.

The process is nearing the end, but first, Melin faced a barrage of questions. He said, “It felt very good. This is a great opportunity for me and my family. I know that there are challenges, but there are challenges everywhere you go and I felt tonight like I had a good opportunity at least to share with the people that were here who I am as a person and what I’m trying to accomplish as a superintendent.”

For the most part, the crowd seemed receptive. Jim Wesp has kids in the GCCS system, he said, “Well, I thought he was impressive. I thought he was honest and open with people here and I thought he did a good job explaining who he was and what his philosophy was.”

But, there was an elephant in the room and Melin was the first to address it. Melin is currently under contract with the Valparaiso Community Schools. An audit of the district found a lack of internal control over finances. Wesp said, “What I’m concerned about is there’s a lot of information out there, specifically the audit with the school system up there…I’ve read the audit, the audit is damning.”

According to the audit, there was no written policy for the use of district credit cards. Also, the athletic department authorized the purchase and installation of a Jumbo-Tron at the high school football field without running it by Melin for approval. The project cost more than $300,000. Melin says he and the board, with the help of a new CFO fixed those problems as they were made aware of them. “Everything that we’ve done is above board and legal and ethical,” he said, “Sometimes, it’s just important that you find out what practices may be occurring that may not be best practices and you address it and you correct it and that’s what I’ve done in Valparaiso with a lot of other good people.”

The board will vote Monday night on whether to offer Melin a proposed three year contract. Under that contract, Melin would end up making $185,000 per year.

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