The Hamilton Southeastern Schools Board of Trustees voted unanimously Oct. 11 to hire Ryan Taylor as the district’s executive director of staff and student services, effective Oct. 13.
Taylor was present for the board meeting and spoke before the vote. He said sitting in the audience that night felt similar to 20 years ago, when he started teaching math at HSE High School.
“Those same butterflies kind of percolate to the top,” he said. “I promise you all I will serve to the best of my ability, and I really look forward to hitting the ground running.”
According to information from the district, Taylor began his career as a classroom teacher in 2002 and over the years transitioned into school leadership. He earned his bachelor of science in mathematics and later achieved a master of arts in educational leadership from Ball State University.
The role Taylor is filling has been vacant since late August.
Two people spoke during public comment about Taylor’s contract. They did not object to Taylor but requested that the board also consider several administrator contracts that were due for renewal in June but have not yet been before the board for a vote.
Five two-year contracts were not renewed in June. They were for Chief Financial Officer Kathleen Dowling; Chief Operating Officer Jimmie Lake; Matthew Kegley, assistant superintendent of teaching and learning; Kimberly Lippe, assistant superintendent of staff and student services; and Rosalie Nataki Pettigrew, chief equity and inclusion officer.
Of those five, three remain without renewed contracts. Kegley was named interim superintendent in September when Superintendent Yvonne Stokes resigned, and Lippe has since left for a position with another district.
Abby Taylor, president of the HSE Education Association, spoke about Dowling’s contract and work on behalf of the district’s referendum.
“She, along with Dr. Kegley, has attended dozens of community events outlining the positive outcomes of the past referendum,” Taylor said. “She, along with Dr. Kegley, has spent her personal time after work hours and weekends canvassing door to door to drum up support for the referendum. The positive support our community has for the referendum is in large part thanks to her work, to the work of Advance HSE Schools, and the teachers spending their time outside of work hours to encourage supporting the referendum. Teachers trust her, our bargaining team trusts her, and the community trusts her. It’s past time to show her and the community that her work is important by extending her contract.”
Fishers residents will vote Nov. 7 on a school district operating referendum. The referendum calls for a reduced rate of up to .1995 cents per $100 assessed property value, providing an estimated $24 million annually in school funding. The current tax levy, approved by voters in 2016, expires at the end of the year. Through the 2016 referendum, property owners have paid .2275 cents per $100 of assessed value.
The board also held a public hearing on the draft $296 million 2024 district budget, which includes revenue from the referendum. Nobody spoke during the public hearing. A vote to ratify the budget is scheduled for Oct. 25.
Also during the Oct. 11 meeting, the HSE board approved:
- A bid of $1.4 million from kRm contractors for the renovation of Fall Creek Intermediate School. When the selection committee met to review all bids submitted for the project, kRm’s bid scored the highest among six proposals received, Facilities Director Matt Rapp told the board. The committee looked at the design team, project approach, alignment with district innovation initiatives, experience with HSE, experience with other K-12 schools, project management and fees.
- Amending a memorandum of understanding with the City of Fishers for shared snow-removal services that reduces costs for both entities. Through the agreement, the city provides snow removal for the school district, and the district reimburses the city an estimated $23,304 in snow removal equipment rental fees for the coming winter.
- The purchase of a new high-impact rubber floor for the HSE High School weight room. The cost is approximately $264,770, including labor, materials and equipment. “The current floor is at the end of its life cycle, and we have identified some safety issues,” Rapp told the board. The replacement will match the floor of the Fishers High School weight room and will display the Hamilton Southeastern High School logo. With normal use, the new floor should last 15 years, he said.
- New playground equipment for Sand Creek Intermediate School. Rapp said the playground equipment is original to the building, which was constructed in 1998. It’s old enough that it’s difficult to find replacement parts. The estimated $351,247 cost includes demolition of the old equipment and installation of the new equipment.