Student enrollment is down at North Putnam Community Schools this year, according to preliminary calculations given to the school board Monday night.
Board members Debbie Sillery, Jon Buser, Patricia Baldwin, Dale McGaughey and Mark Fordice learned there are 1,825 students enrolled this year, according to the corporation's ADM (a day's membership) that was calculated last Friday. This is compared to 1,867 students enrolled last September.
Unfortunately this drop of 42 students will have an effect on the amount of money the corporation receives from the state this year.
Superintendent Murray Pride explained that North Putnam receives Tuition Support Payments each year based on the number of students enrolled in the corporation. He said he doesn't know what type of a loss this will represent for the corporation.
"I know we get less money because we have less students," Pride told the BannerGraphic after the meeting.
As for the decline in student enrollment, Pride said he doesn't know why, for sure, however a majority of it came from the elementary and high school levels.
Pride noted that a lot of students tend to drop out between their sophomore and junior years of high school while others simply move away when their parents get a job transfer.
"I have no idea why," he said after the meeting.
During the meeting, school board members gave final approval to the corporation's 2007 budget. Like other corporations, Pride said things will be tight again next year.
The board also unanimously approved the corporation's capital projects fund and bus replacement fund, as previously advertised, for next year.
Meanwhile, school board members unanimously approved the superintendent to hire an Indiana State University professor to conduct a feasibility study for the school corporation.
Pride said the $9,500 study will take between three and five months to complete and will hopefully show the board what changes, if any, need to be made to the corporation's facilities.
One issue that Pride feels the corporation will have to face in the future is all-day kindergarten. State representatives and the governor brought up the issue repeatedly during their last legislative session.
Pride said he believes the plan for all-day kindergarten will eventually be approved and that corporations like North Putnam will have to find space to house the extra students. Currently it does not have the classroom space, Pride said.
He said he hopes to learn more about this issue through the feasibility study. It has been nearly 10 years since the last study was done.
In other business, the school board:
-- Discussed the recent school rankings handed down by the state Dept. of Education. Both North Putnam elementary schools received exemplary status, while the high school and middle school were placed on academic watch.
Assistant Supt. Kevin Emsweller said the rankings were based primarily on the percentage of students passing the ISTEP test and whether or not the corporation showed improvement in the last three years.
The number of students who passed the test at Bainbridge improved by 6 percent while Roachdale has an increase of 9 percent in the past three years of taking the test. That's why they were given exemplary status.
An academic watch was issued for the middle school and high school because their percentage of students who passed the ISTEP dropped from 71 to 70 percent and 70 percent to 68 percent respectively.
-- Approved the annual agreement for student teachers with DePauw University.
-- Approved the following personnel report: retirements of Bainbridge teachers Wanda Tilley, Katie Lewandowski and Jane Albright; retirement of David Knott, high school and middle school teacher; resignation of Bobbie Stepp, high school teacher, and Susan Trent, middle school academic coach; and hiring of Heather Hughes, Roachdale Elementary teacher.
-- Approved the following Old National Trail personnel: hiring of Mary Winters, teacher for hearing impaired; resignations of Anna Barrow, Mill Creek West instructional assistant, and Rena Harmon, Mill Creek East instructional assistant; transfer of Maureen Eiteljorge, from teacher for hearing impaired to Central Elementary instructional assistant; hiring of GHS instructional assistants Darlene Daniels and Cathy Cox; hiring of Angela Harbaugh, Central Elementary instructional assistant, and April Lane, instructional assistant for hearing impaired students.
The North Putnam School board meets at 7 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month. They met on Monday this week in order to approve the budget.