Houin appointed PCSC lawyer

PLYMOUTH — During a regularly scheduled board meeting on Tuesday night, the Plymouth School Board officially appointed Jeffery Houin to the position of Corporation Attorney.
Houin is originally from Plymouth and graduated from Plymouth High School in 1996. He competed on the Plymouth Speech Team all except his junior year, when he attended Wentzinger Gymnasium in Freiburg, Germany as a recipient of the Congress-Bundestag student exchange scholarship.
He received his bachelor's degree from Ball State University and then held several sales and management positions with RadioShack and RadioShack.com in Indiana and Colorado.
He and his family returned to Plymouth in 2003 where he first worked as an advertising representative for the Pilot News Group before attending the University of Notre Dame Law School. While in law school, Houin said he was able to apply his Plymouth Speech Team training to earn one of only four positions on Notre Dame Law School's prestigious Moot Court Showcase Team.
Since returning to Plymouth, he has also returned to the Plymouth Speech and Debate team as an assistant coach.
After law school, Houin began a private practice in South Bend before joining the Indianapolis-based law firm of Doyle Legal Corporation, P.C. to open their South Bend office.
Houin said, “I am happy to bring Plymouth Community School Corporation to the list of prominent clients of Doyle Legal Corporation. For me personally, it is an exciting opportunity to work with administrators, teachers and board members from whom I have learned so much over the years. I owe much of my career success to the Plymouth community and the Plymouth School Corporation, and I look forward to applying that success as legal counsel for the Corporation.”
Doyle Legal Corporation, P.C. is a full service law firm with offices in Indianapolis and South Bend. For more than 20 years, Doyle Legal Corporation, P.C. attorneys have provided legal services to an ever expanding base of corporate and individual clients at the state and national level.
Houin said, “The success of our practice can be measured only by our clients' satisfaction. At Doyle Legal Corporation, P.C., we work hard both to earn our clients' business and their satisfaction.”
In other business:
• The board voted 5-0 to extend the contract of Superintendent Daniel Tyree. Additionally, it voted unanimously to extend three-year contracts to administrators. One-year contracts were extended to all assistant administrators and the lone first-time principal. One–year contracts were also given to the Athletic Director and Guidance Department Director at Plymouth High School.
Carrie Cannon, who is serving as a one-year curriculum intern, also received a one-year contract.
The contracts do not allow for any increase in salary or benefits.
Board members Larry Pinkerton and Todd Samuelson praised the work and dedication the school’s administration staff. Pinkerton said, “We are very blessed to have a great bunch of administrators.”
“I don’t know when we have had a more challenging time,” said Samuelson.
• The board heard a brief overview of the textbook fees for both Lincoln Junior High and Plymouth High School for the upcoming school year. Angie Mills said the average cost of textbooks currently for Lincoln Junior High is $148. She said that average will increase to $157.18 for the 2011-12 school year. The fees do include payments made for the electronic curriculum. Each student at LJH is given a computer to use during the school year.
• Speaking for Plymouth High School, Assistant Principal Andy Hartley said the rental payments for Mac computers that students at the high school level will receive is incorporated into the English textbook fees. He said, “It is hard to get an average since kids take some many different courses,” and that fees were considered department by department. “There are decent to significant cuts in each department.”
Tyree updated the board on the progress of obtaining the necessary money to launch the New Tech High School. He said, “Through grants and donations, we already have $260,000. We plan to continue fundraising through July.”
He also noted that most of the donations are five-year gifts, meaning that amounts pledged will be given over the five-year period.
“There is not going to be cash in our pockets right away,” he said.
Fundraising is centered in two areas, according to Tyree. One is to obtain gifts in the amount of $500,000 and the second in grants of approximately $250,000.
Tyree said the New Tech organization has visited the property and has now given the Plymouth corporation full acceptance. “We are way ahead of the game in fundraising and acceptance,” he said, adding that following the July 12 meeting, the board will have an opportunity to interview two architects who will present their concepts for the New Tech space. The interviews will be held in executive session.
He previously reported that the first year of New Tech will be limited to 100 students and that there is adequate classroom space available to accommodate the first year.
• The board ratified the master contract with Plymouth Education Association (PEA). The contract voted on 5-0 will be in effect until June 30, 2012.
Laura Kruyer, president of the PEA, spoke briefly on the contract: “I don’t think the public knows how hard we work without raises here at Plymouth due to cuts.”
Teachers have not been given a raise in four years, according to Kruyer.
The contract ratified is predominantly the same as last year.
Tyree said, “A year under our own contract would be soothing on the nerves.”
He and the board thanked Kruyer for her help in settling the contract.
Both Tyree and Kruyer acknowledged that there will be changes coming from the Indiana Department of Education in the future.
Kruyer said, “We know there are new rules, we just don’t know what they are.”