At the Warren School Board meeting on Tuesday, August 4, the board presented the community with an edited version of the new position residents proposed as a way to rehire administrative assistant Laurie Jones after her employee contract was not renewed this past June.

Beth Schoellkopf of Warren presented a job description for a new position, coordinator of student events and services, to the board at their last meeting on July 21. While Schoellkopf said that the community could raise the money to pay for the new position for Jones, school board chair Mike Ketchel explained that "When Act 60 came out, it said you cannot pay someone to do a school function with locally-raised funds," and said the board would look into the specifics of the law.

Warren School Principal Jill Ballou
Warren School Principal Jill Ballou

Since then, the board met with Warren School principal, Jill Ballou, and Washington West Supervisory Union (WWSU) superintendent Brigid Scheffert-Nease to go over the job description for the new position, which school board member Adam Greshin then edited, he told the public last Tuesday.

The edited job description for the new position, which Greshin tentatively retitled "PTO coordinator of events and enrichment," includes a number of functions "that form an integral part of the Warren School community," he said, such as coordinating the school's annual harvest dinner, Halloween festivities, Mothers' Day Follies, theater program and artist-in-residency program, to name a few.

The PTO coordinator of events and enrichment would not be in the school interacting with students on a daily basis fulfilling tasks such as recess duty, Greshin said. Those responsibilities "need to be handled by people who are authorized and employed by the school," he said, and in order to comply with Act 60, whoever fulfills the new position would not be employed by the school.

Instead, the PTO coordinator of events and enrichment "would be a community job and up to the community to decide" what its exact responsibilities were, Greshin said, saying whoever fills the new position could provide student services such as serving as spelling bee coach, dance committee leader and liaison for the school's ski program.

On July 16, the board hired Heidi Greene, who was formerly employed at the school as an instructional assistant, to serve as the new administrative assistant. According to the job advertisement put out by the school, Greene will continue to perform daily school tasks, including filling in for the school nurse two-and-a-half days a week.

At the end of last Tuesday's meeting, Greshin left residents with a piece of paper with the edited job description for the new position for Jones and told them to take a look at it. "Maybe there's something that could work," he said.

During the public comment portion of the meeting that took place prior to the discussion of the new position, school counselor Jennifer Bolland urged the community to focus not on the board's decision to not renew Jones' contract and instead on the upcoming school year. Classes are starting in just a few weeks, and "We're getting constantly distracted by our conflict," she said, to which former Warren School principal Andreas Lehner responded.

"The reason we're having trouble moving past this is because we're in a grieving process," Lehner said, indicating that so far residents don't know when or how they can begin to heal.