Members of the South Putnam School Board approved the proposed 2007 budget Monday night without much to say, however, several parents and school corporation residents voiced their concerns to the board.
Bette Bertram asked the board what was being done about the sewage problem in the cafeteria at Central Elementary. Supt. Bruce Bernhardt informed the public that the school had a sewage drain pipe separate somewhere on the property, but they were unsure exactly where it occurred.
Bernhardt said that several people have been looking at the problem and have provided estimates to repair it.
"We've had the board of health out, and have had a clean bill of health," said Bernhardt.
Bernhardt said the food service workers were able to use the kitchens and are working to prepare food items that do not have to be flushed down the drain.
Several parents brought up concerns about the art program. The board had divided up physical education, music, and art so that each would be taught for one-third of the semester and then be rotated out. The board later brought music and physical education back to full-time and increased art to one-half. That meant that the art program would be taught for one semester.
One parent asked if the board would be doing the same thing they did last year since the art teacher was hired for only one semester. Bernhardt said that the board and the corporation are looking at several different options, but they have not come to a decision. "We're working on it," said Bernhardt.
Another parent said, "There are a lot of parents that are not here tonight that I have spoken to that really want you guys to know that we really want the art program to continue for our children. We really want the school to help us."
One parent voiced a concern about the proposed changes to the ISTEP tests. Bernhardt said that the state dictates the changes to the ISTEP. Some of the state changes are the proposed moving of the test dates from the fall to the spring and running diagnostic tests. Board member Steve Cash said that the state is looking at the possibility of the school using computers for the tests so they can score the tests quickly.
One resident was concerned about raising the tax rate for the corporation residents. She said she took a $1,000 jump on her property alone last year, and she does not want to see anything like that again. Bernhardt said that they are not looking at anything like that, maybe just a few cents.
In other business, the board:
-- Approved the resignation of Fillmore Elementary instructional aide Katrina Henderson; approved the hiring of Fillmore Elementary instructional aide Mary Jane Glaze, Fillmore Elementary student aide Ollie Osterhaudt, high school custodian Greg Branham, high school food service worker Jenny Halcomb, high school 8th grade cheerleading coach Natalie Burgess, high school JV cheerleading coach Miranda Anderson, and high school 7th grade cheerleading coach Martha Miller; and approved Liz Laney transfer from high school food service worker to high school instructional aide.
-- Learned from high school principal Kieth Puckett there were several students who had received the status of student of the month from each grade level at the high school. Those winners are: 7th grader Sam Gould, 8th grader Cassandra Warren, 9th grader Bessie Hutcheson, 10th grader David Henney, 11th grader Chelsea Clark, and 12th Hannah Ames.
-- Learned from Transportation Director Chuck Shaffer that the corporation has the most successful transportation department in the county. The corporation has saved $18,000 for buying three news buses. The transportation department has made several reductions which lead to maintaining an affordable and safe transportation operation.
-- Approved the overnight request for students involved in FFA to attend a national convention in Indianapolis Oct. 24-28.
-- Approved a student teacher contract with DePauw University.
-- Approved the high school switching to Computrol accounting software for its finances.
-- Learned that board member Nancy Wells would be attending a state school board meeting next week.
-- Learned that the high school open house was a great success.
-- Learned that ISTEP testing started off this week. Bernhardt wants parents to encourage their students to get a good night's sleep and eat a good breakfast. The majority of the testing will take place this week. Next week is ISTEP retakes for all students except 10th graders taking the GQE.
The next regularly scheduled meeting is set for 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 16. This meeting is open to the public, and is conducted in the music room at Central Elementary.