Friday, July 6, 2018

Dr. Baule refused teaching position in Muncie


x-Superintendent Steve Baule says he was fired for blowing whistle on illegal activity

Seth Slabaugh, Muncie Star Press Published 3:06 p.m. ET July 6, 2018 | Updated 3:51 p.m. ET July 6, 2018

MUNCIE, Ind. — The emergency manager of Muncie Community Schools announced at a board meeting last week that he would not be hiring controversial Superintendent Steve Baule as a teacher.

In response to a public-records request, emergency manager Steve Edwards on Friday released his findings of fact disclosing why.

Like all Indiana school superintendents, Baule was employed on a regular teacher's contract, supplemented by a superintendent's contract. Edwards did not renew Baule's three-year contract as superintendent, which ended June 30. Baule then sought to remain at MCS as a teacher.

However, Edwards canceled Baule's teaching contract on grounds of "other good and just cause and the best interests of the school corporation in that Dr. Baule does not possess a valid license to teach in Indiana public schools."

Did blowing whistle cost Baule his job?

Baule's attorney, who claims Edwards also wrongfully terminated Baule as superintendent, has asserted that cancelling Baule's teacher's contract is "illegal, without factual support and in direct retaliation" for Baule's blowing the whistle on illegal school-district activity, according to the findings of fact.

Specifically, Baule is being retaliated against for "notifying the state of Indiana and Muncie Community Schools that approximately $10 million had been illegally spent before he became superintendent" as well as "other financial mismanagement," Baule's attorney, Mark Waterfill, alleges.

Waterfill "also referenced other matters regarding payments to (emergency management firm) Administrator Assistance and the sale of MCS buildings as mismanagement, which Dr. Baule reported," Edwards wrote in the findings of fact.

"He (Waterfill) accused Mr. Edwards of personal animus against Dr. Baule," the newly released document said. "He specifically cited Indiana's 'whistleblower' law. He also noted that Muncie Community Schools had employed teachers under emergency permits. He stated that the claimed reasons for cancellation were specious, discriminatory and followed up on an illegal non-renewal of Dr. Baule's superintendent's contract, a matter which is now in litigation. He asked that Dr. Baule's contract not be cancelled."

Edwards' findings

Steve Edwards, one of the emergency managers with Muncie Community Schools talks to the school board Aug. 8 during their regular monthly meeting. (Photo: Corey Ohlenkamp/The Star Press)

Edwards conducted a private conference on June 29 to consider cancellation of the teacher's contract. Appearing for the school district was John Williams, who is Edwards' chief of staff. Baule, who holds two doctoral degrees, appeared personally and was represented by Waterfill. William Hughes attended as counsel for the school district.

Edwards made the following findings:

• Baule, "hereinafter referred to as 'the teacher,' " was  employed as superintendent under a regular teacher's contract until June 30.

• Baule holds a REPA 3 District Level Administrator: Superintendent license issued by the state of Indiana.

• According to Dr. Scott Syverson, chief talent officer, Indiana Department of Education, Baule "is not eligible to teach in any subject area."  His license is "for an administrative position only."

• "MCS Board Policy 3120, employment of professional staff, provides as follows: The School Board recognizes that it is vital to the successful operation of the Corporation that positions created by the Board be filled with highly qualified and competent personnel. Wherever possible, positions should be filled by properly licensed personnel."

• Teachers have been employed by MCS under emergency permits, but to do so, it must certify "an emergency need for the applicant in the content area or areas … " No such emergency exists.

• Baule has received two evaluations while employed at MCS, and therefore is still considered probationary. A probationary teacher's contract may be cancelled for any reason relevant to the district's interest.

• The basis for the cancellation is Baule does not possess a valid license to teach in any subject matter area. There is no credible evidence that cancellation of the teaching contract was undertaken because Baule made a whistleblower report or for any other illegal reason.

In April, Baule filed a lawsuit in Marion County against the school district, complaining that it had failed to follow legal procedures when it notified him on Dec. 31/Jan. 1 that his superintendent's contract would not be renewed after June 30.

As  a result, Baule claims that the superintendent's contract has not been terminated, that it can't be terminated until Jan. 1, 2019, and that he must be paid through June 30, 2019. School district lawyers obtained a court order to transfer the lawsuit to Delaware County.

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Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Vacancy at District 100 Board of Education

Board of Education Member Vacancy Notice


Belvidere Community Unit School District #100 has a seat available on the Board of Education for a term ending April, 2019.  Legal qualifications include:

1. Citizen of the United States for at least (1) year;

2. 18 years of age or older;

3. Resident of the State of Illinois and District #100 for at least one (1) year;

4. Registered voter;

5. Not holding the position of school trustee or school treasurer; and

6. Candidate cannot reside in Belvidere Township.

Such persons may be ineligible for Board of Education membership by reason of other public office held or certain types of state or federal employment.

Interested persons should submit the following:

1.Letter of interest indicating why they would like to be considered for the vacancy on the Board of Education; and

2.Resume outlining the qualities they would bring to the Board of Education.

Please submit letter and resume to Mr. Robert Torbert, President, Board of Education, Belvidere Community Unit School District #100, 1201 Fifth Avenue, Belvidere, Illinois 61008.

The deadline for receiving letters is June 29, 2018.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

TB case at Belvidere North


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imageData  Statistics

Tuberculosis (TB) is one of the world’s deadliest diseases:
  • One fourth of the world’s population is infected with TB.
  • In 2016, 10.4 million people around the world became sick with TB disease. There were 1.7 million TB-related deaths worldwide.
  • TB is a leading killer of people who are HIV infected.

A total of 9,272 TB cases (a rate of 2.9 cases per 100,000 persons) were reported in the United States in 2016. This is a decrease from the number of cases reported in 2015 and the lowest case count on record in the United States. The case rate of 2.9 per 100,000 persons is a 3.6% decrease from 2015. While the United States continues to make slow progress, current strategies are not enough to reach the goal of TB elimination in this century.

CDC estimates that about 14% of U.S. TB cases with genotype data are attributed to recent transmission. Distinguishing the numbers of cases attributed to recent transmission from those likely due to reactivation of longstanding, untreated latent TB infection is one of many tools state and local TB programs can use to design and prioritize effective public health interventions.

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Boone County Health Department

5 hrs · (approximately 3PM, May 18, 2018)

There has been a diagnosed case of Tuberculosis (TB) at Belvidere North High School. Tuberculosis (TB) is a contagious disease that is transmitted from an ill person to others through the air. People who are in direct and prolonged contact with the ill person and share the same airspace for a prolonged period of time can become infected with the germ (bacteria) that causes TB.

You can only get infected by breathing in TB germs that a person coughs into the air. You cannot get TB from someone’s clothes, drinking glass, eating utensils,
handshake, toilet, or other surfaces where a TB patient has been.

Skin testing for every student attending Belvidere North High School is not necessary. Students and staff who have come in direct and prolonged contact in the classroom setting are considered school contacts that need to have a TB skin test. Those students and staff received a letter about their need for a skin test. We will be taking appointments for skin tests for the targeted students and staff on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Call 815-544-9730 for more information.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

19-year-old former student shot by officer at Dixon High School

Dixon police officer shoots former student who opened fire in school

Updated: May 16, 2018 02:49 PM CDT

DIXON - The Dixon community is hailing the actions of a police officer as heroic after he shoots an armed gunman who opened fire at the school's gymnasium on Wednesday morning.

Dixon Police Officer Mark Dallas was assigned as the School Resource Officer.

At approximately 8 a.m. a 19-year-old armed suspect fired several shots near the west gym. Officer Dallas pursued the suspect, who fired back toward him. The officer returned fire, injuring the shooter. His injuries are believed to be non-life threatening. He was taken into custody and transferred to KSB Hospital for treatment.

No students or staff were injured.

Officer Dallas has not been identified by officials, but an outpouring of public support for his actions has been trending on social media.

Governor Bruce Rauner released a statement saying, "Today, we should all be very thankful to school resource officer Mark Dallas for his bravery and quick action to immediately diffuse a dangerous situation at Dixon High School."

Other students and community members voiced their praise for Officer Dallas.

Counseling services will be provided to students at 5 p.m. in the Reagan Middle School cafeteria on Wednesday.

Dixon High School will be closed to students on Thursday, May 17th. Pre-K through 8th grade students will be on a normal schedule. There will be a heightened police presence at those schools.

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  • Saturday, May 12, 2018

    Belvidere School District schools put on temporary lockdown following threatening phone call

    By Adam Poulisse
    Staff writer

    Posted May 9, 2018 at 10:05 PM Updated May 9, 2018 at 10:05 PM

    BELVIDERE — Four schools were under a short lockdown Wednesday morning after an unspecified threat was called in, according to Belvidere School District.

    Meehan Elementary, Belvidere South Middle School, Belvidere North High School and Belvidere High School were all under lockdown after a called was made to Belvidere High School “about a threat to school security and safety,” district Superintendent Daniel Woestman said in a written statement.

    As a precaution, the four schools were placed on lockdown for about 35 minutes before classes resumed.

    The school district is working with Belvidere police to identify the source of the phone call, Woestman said.

    “These types of threats result in the most severe school consequences as well as legal and financial consequences for any perpetrator,” Woestman said. “Disruptions to the school environment like this cannot and will not be tolerated. These disruptions consume valuable community resources.”

    Adam Poulisse: 815-987-1344;; @adampoulisse

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    Tuesday, May 8, 2018

    Idaho State University loses weapons-grade plutonium capable of making a dirty bomb

    FOX News

    Idaho State University loses weapons-grade plutonium capable of making a dirty bomb

    6 hrs ago

    FILE 2015: Nuclear waste is stored in underground containers at the Idaho Nation. A small amount of radioactive, weapons-grade plutonium about the size of a U.S. quarter is missing from an Idaho university that was using it for research, leading federal officials on Friday to propose an $8,500 fine.© Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadc... FILE 2015: Nuclear waste is stored in underground containers at the Idaho Nation. A small amount of radioactive, weapons-grade plutonium about the size of a U.S. quarter is missing from an Idaho university that was using it for research, leading federal officials on Friday to propose an $8,500 fine.

    Idaho State University was fined last week for losing a small amount of radioactive, weapons-grade plutonium that is too small to make a nuclear bomb, but could be used in a dirty bomb, according to a regulatory commission.

    Dr. Cornelis Van der Schyf, vice president for research at the university, blamed partially completed paperwork from 15 years ago as the school tried to dispose of the plutonium.

    "Unfortunately, because there was a lack of sufficient historical records to demonstrate the disposal pathway employed in 2003, the source in question had to be listed as missing," he said in a statement to The Associated Press. "The radioactive source in question poses no direct health issue or risk to public safety."

    The school, which reported the material missing on Oct. 13, was hit with an $8,500 fine and has 30 days to dispute the measure.

    Victor Dricks, a U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission spokesman, said the agency “has very rigorous controls for the use and storage of radioactive materials as evidenced by this enforcement action," he said of the proposed fine for failing to keep track of the material.

    The agency said a school employee doing a routine inventory discovered the university could only account for 13 of its 14 plutonium sources, each weighing about the same small amount.

    Idaho State University has a nuclear engineering program and works with the U.S. Department of Energy's Idaho National Laboratory, considered the nation's primary nuclear research lab and located about 65 miles northwest of the school.

    The plutonium was being used to develop ways to ensure nuclear waste containers weren't leaking and to find ways to detect radioactive material being illegally brought into the U.S. following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the school said in an email to the AP.

    The school searched documents and found records from 2003 and 2004 saying the material was on campus and awaiting disposal. However, there were no documents saying the plutonium had been properly disposed.

    The last document mentioning the plutonium is dated Nov. 23, 2003. It said the Idaho National Laboratory didn't want the plutonium and the school's technical safety office had it "pending disposal of the next waste shipment."

    The school also reviewed documents on waste barrels there and others transferred off campus since 2003, and opened and examined some of them. Finally, officials searched the campus but didn't find the plutonium.

    The nuclear commission said senior university officials planned to return the school's remaining plutonium to the Energy Department. It's not clear if that has happened.

    Energy Department officials didn't return calls seeking comment Friday.

    Dricks, the commission spokesman, said returning the plutonium was part of the school's plan to reduce its inventory of radioactive material.

    He said overall it has "a good record with the NRC."

    The Associated Press contributed to this report

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    Wednesday, April 25, 2018

    Dr. Baule attempts legal loophole to continue employment with Muncie

    Supt. Steven Baule sues Muncie Community Schools, says he's not been terminated

    Seth Slabaugh, The Star Press Published 1:12 p.m. ET April 23, 2018 | Updated 3:59 p.m. ET April 23, 2018

    636446216495614192-MNI-1024-GreekHouses0289.jpgBuy Photo

    (Photo: Corey Ohlenkamp/The Star Press)


    MUNCIE, Ind. — Superintendent Steven M. Baule has filed a wrongful-termination lawsuit against Muncie Community Schools.

    "Plaintiff contends that effective notice has not been given to him, and, as a result, he has not, in fact, been terminated," Baule's attorney, Mark Waterfill, Indianapolis, said in the complaint for declaratory judgment.

    "Plaintiff contends that his employment cannot be terminated at this point any earlier than January 1, 2019, and that he must be paid through June 30, 2019, if not later," the lawsuit filed in a Marion County Superior Court added.

    Steve Wittenauer, co-founder of consulting firm Administrator Assistance, the state-appointed emergency manager in charge of the financially distressed school district, on Monday told The Star Press, "We have just forwarded that on to our insurance. I'll be happy to share more information later, but right now, we just don't know a lot about it."

    "The essence of  the lawsuit is wrongful non-renewal of the superintendent's contract," said Debbie Feick, school board president. "It seems all of the grievance is against Administrator Assistance, but they are not named as a defendant."

    The only defendant is the school corporation. The lawsuit identifies Administrator Assistance and the school board as non-parties.

    The school board hired Baule for a three-year term as superintendent starting July 1, 2015, and expiring at midnight on June 30, 2018.

    The employment agreement called for the contract to automatically renew for successive one-year periods starting July 1, 2018, "unless either party gives written notice …on or before January 1 of the year in which the contract is to expire of their intention not to renew the contract. To be effective, such written notice must be delivered in person or by registered mail."

    On Dec. 27, 2017, Administrator Assistance sent the superintendent a letter that "purports to terminate Dr. Baule, allowing him to be paid through June 30, 2018," according to the lawsuit.

    However, pursuant to the Indiana law that governs emergency managers, the state's Distressed Unit Appeal Board (DUAB), and "distressed political subdivisions" including schools, Administrator Assistance did not possess authority over Muncie Community Schools until January 1, 2018, the lawsuit says.

    Thus, the termination letter "is of no effect."

    In addition, "A letter dated Jan. 1, 2018, from Administrator Assistance, LLC., purports to terminate Dr. Baule's employment." However, that letter was "not served on Dr. Baule on or before January of the year in which the contract is to expire" nor was it "delivered in person or by registered mail."

    What's more, the school corporation never sought to terminate Baule for "cause" or "without cause by giving not less than a 12-month advance written notice to the superintendent," the lawsuit says. Nor did Baule lose his superintendent's license, which would have been another reason to fire him.

    A copy of the termination letter to Baule dated Dec. 27, 2017, from Administrator Assistance contained a stamp showing that it was not received at the superintendent's office until Jan. 3, 2018.

    After conducting its annual performance evaluation of Baule, the school board in December took no action on Baule's contract, meaning it would have automatically renewed for another year.

    "I can't disclose what we put on there (the performance review), but needless to say we were comfortable with the contract rolling over," Feick said on Monday. "Given his ability to complete the tasks at hand, our evaluation speaks for itself."

    Administrator Assistance said in the Dec. 27 letter that it had authority under the state's emergency manager statute to end the contract. The statute gave the emergency manager authority to deny any school corporation contract that exceeded $30,000.

    "In our role as emergency manager … we do not approve of the incurrence of this contractual obligation," the letter said. "Therefore, we are notifying you that, since the incurrence of this contractual obligation is not approved, your contract is not being renewed …"

    The emergency manager also served notice of non-renewal of the contract in the letter dated Jan. 1, 2018, that was stamped as being received by the superintendent's office on Jan. 3.

    Feick views Baule as a superintendent who blew the whistle on financial mismanagement of the school district by previous superintendents and by longtime former chief financial officer Mark Burkhart.

    "It's tough when you're pilgrims," Feick said on Monday. "But I think the emergency manager's position was, looking down the road at how do we recover as a school district, when whistleblowers identify past mismanagement, how do you effectively heal and move forward, how do you rebuild confidence in any member of the leadership team? Sometimes the notion is you have to start fresh. It was a hot-button issue. We let the chips fall where they did. We had no authority at that point."

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