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North West Hendricks

Frequently Asked Questions about North West Hendricks School Corporation

The district and the school board appreciate the comments, questions and concerns expressed by our community members over the past few months. We acknowledge that there has been too little information forthcoming and that has caused misinformation, speculation and mistrust to flourish.

We are committed to providing greater transparency and communication in the future, starting with this FAQ. This forum will respond to questions pertaining to all things North West Hendricks School Corp. with some reasonable exceptions. This forum will remain a dynamic public document on the district webpage, so that information is consistent and available for reference and resource.

Send your questions to this address: questions@hendricks.k12.in.us  

Please note that as of November 5, we are currently experiencing an issue with the FAQ email. If you send a question you will likely receive this message: 

We're writing to let you know that the group you tried to contact (questions) may not exist, or you may not have permission to post messages to the group. A few more details on why you weren't able to post:

 * You might have spelled or formatted the group name incorrectly.
 * The owner of the group may have removed this group.
 * You may need to join the group before receiving permission to post.
 * This group may not be open to posting.

Please know that our tech department has been in contact with Google and is working to resolve the issue as quickly as possible, so we can continue to respond to your questions.

All questions will be read and responded to within a reasonable period of time, and all questions will remain anonymous when published. Please submit a brief question (questions will be edited for space, grammar, and language), and we will provide you with the best, most accurate information we have available.

We will not respond to questions that:

  • attack groups or individuals
  • are considered offensive or in poor taste

For individual or private concerns, please contact the school or central office by phone.
 

When will we see new construction begin at Tri-West HS & MS?  Athletic fields, new parking, bus lots, roundabout, etc.  And when would it be expected to end?

Bids recently received for the transportation project came in significantly over budget. This is a major setback and other options are now being considered that would reduce project costs. We will continue to share information as it becomes available.

Did the board wait to vote for Tyler Bruce’s probationary period to roll over so he would be covered by the teachers union?

No. He remains a probationary teacher.

Are you getting all your answers from the board itself or are you investigating these questions?

Responding to these questions is a group effort, relying on those who would have the best knowledge to answer the question. We must also rely on the advice of legal counsel, so the information shared does not cross any legal boundaries.

How much is the communications consultant being paid?

Once the contract has been approved, it will be a matter of public record.

When will the board be sitting down to answer all questions?

We are hopeful that community members will use the FAQ as the most public means of responding to questions. That way information shared is consistent, readily available, and very public. That said, the November board meeting will offer an opportunity for public comment without the 2 minute time limit. 

Are these questions actually from the community?

Yes, and some are from the media.

Why didn’t the board accept the superintendent’s recommendation to terminate Tyler Bruce?

As it has been stated, after all testimony provided by district administrators and their legal representatives, as well as the three employees affected and their legal representatives, the four board members who voted on the recommendation, were not convinced there was just cause for termination at that time. Rather, they chose to wait for the results of the law enforcement investigation before taking further action.

It’s worth noting that prior to July 2019, the board unanimously supported the superintendent’s recommendations 99% of the time.

What is the status of the Tyler Bruce investigation?

Our latest contact with the Hendricks County Sheriff’s department confirms that the investigation is still active. Often cases like this take six to twelve months. The district has completed its investigation and complied with all due process requirements. We are all anxious for a resolution to this situation that has impacted our community. In the meantime, let us focus on all the great things occurring in our schools and school community."

Brad Williams, board member, is related to Tyler Bruce. Why was he involved in any decisions regarding Bruce?

Mr. Williams recused himself from the due process hearings and all executive sessions/employee meetings regarding Mr. Bruce. He also abstained from voting on any board decisions regarding termination. The one exception, which the board acknowledges was an oversight, was the board vote recommending placing Mr. Bruce on paid administrative leave July 9, 2019. Minutes of those board meetings are public record and can be accessed on the NWHSC website. 

Mr. Diagostino was seen socializing with the Begles while they were on leave. Is there any school policy that speaks to that situation and was it the right thing to do?

It should be noted that the Begle and Diagostino families have been friends for over 10 years, so it is not at all unusual that they would continue that friendship and socialize in public. There is no district policy that addresses this; however, Mr. Diagostino did reach out to legal counsel in this regard and was assured there was no legal issue. That said, in the court of public opinion perception is reality which we acknowledge.

It is frustrating to be limited to two minutes of comment at board meetings and being threatened with a police escort is not helping. Why is this the policy?

It’s important to understand that school board meetings (like any local government meetings) are held in public because they are dealing with the public’s business. They are not intended to be forums for dialogue between the public and the board.

There is no law or policy that requires a school board to take comments during the meetings, although our school board allows public comments on agenda items and non-agenda items during each regular session. The goal is to hold an orderly business meeting and unrestricted public comments can be counter-productive to that end. That said, those rules can be suspended or enforced at the discretion of the board. There are numerous other ways to share comments, questions, and concerns with members of the board - email, in person, through the USPS, or phone. We encourage using those opportunities.

Will new protocols or policies be adopted for the district in response to the coaches/teachers under investigation for inappropriate conduct with students?

The district has -

  1. Updated the Harassment Policy
    1. Board policies on harassment have been reviewed by legal counsel to be sure they are current with reference to statutes. 
    2. The board will be reviewing and approving the new policies over the next few months.
  2. Required Additional Training
    1. Administrators from our corporation attended a three-day Title IX training conference to learn more about Title IX compliance and violation identification.
    2. All staff will have additional training on harassment within the coming months.
  3. Created New Communication Protocol
    1. Protocols have been put in place on allowable methods of coach communication with players.

Was Mike Springer “forced out” or “bought out” as superintendent?

This appears to be the perception of some, but the answer is NO. Mr. Springer submitted his resignation and the school board approved the severance agreement for compensation of the remainder of his contract set to expire on June 30, 2020. The actions between the former superintendent and the board were amicable, mutual and professional.

Why were the similar allegations against the two coaches handled differently?

These matters are entirely different based on the employment status of both individuals. One is a certified employee of the district who has a right to due process prior to any official action by the board. The other was a coach only and due process does not apply, thus he could be terminated without cause.

What is your response to Open Door Complaint filed by Andrew Hass?

The district maintains that there is no Open-Door Law violation and will respond appropriately to the complaint in a timely manner. It will then be up to the Public Access Counselor for a determination. Should the Counselor find there has been a violation NWHSC will immediately move to remedy the error.

FOR YOUR REFERENCE:

The Open-Door Law (ODL) public notice of date, time, and place of any meetings, executive sessions, or of any rescheduled or reconvened meeting at least 48 hours prior to the meeting, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays. A public agency must post a notice of meetings at the principal office of the agency, and if no such office exists, at the place where the meeting is to be held. State agencies are also required to provide electronic access to meeting notices on the Internet.

Regular Meetings: The school board convenes on the second Tuesday of each month at 6:30 pm at the Administration.

Executive Sessions: These must be noticed at least 48 hours prior to the meeting. The public is not allowed to attend these meetings as no official action is taken.

Special Sessions: These can be called to take action prior to the regularly scheduled meetings, again with proper public notification.

Jim Diagostino, NWHSC board president, is the superintendent of Mill Creek Community School Corporation. Isn’t this a conflict of interest?

There is nothing in the Indiana School Board Association policy that would flag this as a conflict of interest, nor is this a unique situation in Indiana. Mr. Diagostino has been elected to serve our school corporation by the members of this community with their full knowledge that he is serving as a school superintendent at another county school.

Does the interim superintendent have a DUI in his past?

Yes. Twelve years ago, when he was principal at Fishers High School. He did the right thing by publicly acknowledging that lack of judgement and resigning from his position. Dr. Syverson had a stellar record as an educator prior, and has been a successful, highly respected educator since.