Valparaiso school board to air derailed foreign student program
by James D. Wolf Jr. Post-Tribune correspondent February 19, 2014 6:48PM
Updated: February 20, 2014 2:09AM
VALPARAISO — Although Lumenus USA ended its partnership with Valparaiso Community Schools, the public will have a chance to ask questions about the program that would have brought in 25 to 30 Chinese and Ecuadorian students
Lumenus is listed under old business on the Feb. 20 school board meeting agenda.
Superintendent Mike Berta said the partnership won’t be resurrected after Lumenus ended it Feb. 10.
However, the School Board has asked him to repeat the presentation he gave Jan. 23 before the board voted for the partnership.
Berta said the board will address some of the concerns and details of the plan.
Residents had raised concerns about competition for spaces in extracurricular activities, for class rankings and for scholarships, as well as burdens on teachers and guidance counselors and the diminished English as a Second Language program.
There were also concerns that the public hadn’t heard about the proposal before the vote and that Portage Township Schools had voted down a partnership with Lumenus after hearing similar concerns.
Some residents believed the program was being pushed through because of the political connections of Mayor Jon Costas, who owns 11 percent of Lumenus and serves on its board, and other owners.
The meeting will be at the Valparaiso High School cafeteria at 6 p.m.
Also at the meeting, Berta will present two additional makeup days in case classes are canceled again this school year.
The district had enough planned make up days to cover time taken off for this winter’s severe weather.
However, “we’ve exhausted all of our makeup days,” Berta said.
The board will also give an update on the hiring process for a new superintendent. Berta in December said he would stay on as superintendent until August.