Public interested at N. Putnam

Friday, January 26, 2007
South Putnam High School crowned Jacob "Tater" Carpenter its 2007 Winter Homecoming King Friday. He was escorted by Kaitlyn Hammond. Jacob is the son of Ann and John Carpenter.

Public comments were a rampant during the North Putnam School Board meeting last Thursday. The board heard the public's comments, complaints and questions ranging in topics from the athletic code of conduct book to full-day kindergarten.

The board first heard from Tina Gurney and her son about the high school's athletic code of conduct book.

Gurney's son was a football player at the high school, but he lost his privileges to play after violating the rules found in the code of conduct book. While he apologized to the board for what he did, he, along with Gurney, asked the board for an explanation of the specific code and what can be done to change it.

Supt. Murray Pride told the BannerGraphic Tuesday that the code of conduct states an athlete's first violation is punishable by not playing 25 percent of the games. An athlete's second violation is punishable by not playing for one full calendar year, while the third violation is punishable by not playing the rest of the athlete's high school career.

Both Pride and board president Dale McGaughey explained to Gurney that she needs to submit a written request to the high school principal and athletic director about the changes to the policy, and in turn the two administrators will bring it to the board.

McGaughey also said Gurney could request an executive session of the board if she and her son did not feel that the code of conduct has not been followed.

"But just requesting it does not automatically mean you'll be granted the executive session," McGaughey said.

McGaughey also said that Gurney needed to submit a detailed written request for an executive session to Pride.

Both McGaughey and board member Charlie Boller told Gurney's son that they appreciated his courage to come and apologize to the board for his actions and for his professionalism during the discussion.

The board also heard from Laurie Hensley about her concerns with and where the corporation is going with full-day kindergarten. Pride explained that full-day kindergarten is a volunteer program. "I cannot tell you what's going to happen tomorrow, or next month, or next week," Pride said about what is going on with full-day kindergarten.

Pride explained to Hensley that Governor Mitch Daniels is wanting to phase the students into the program over a period of years, and it will begin with the students who qualify for reduced and free lunches.

"We have to as a school corporation, if they mandate that (the first phase in process), then we will have to offer it to the students who qualify for the full-day program," Pride said.

This could mean the schools have some students going to kindergarten for half the day, while others go for a full-day.

Hensley asked how the state could get away with discriminating against those students who do not qualify for reduced and free lunches. Pride said that was a good question Hensley should address to the Governor Daniels, especially because it was a concern for the corporation.

"I share your concerns," Pride said. "I can't answer your questions now because I don't have the answer."

In other comments, the board:

  • Heard from Jim Hazelwood about the train derailment and chemical spill in Kentucky. Hazelwood had asked the board if it had an agreement with the town about evacuating the students if a similar situation happened within the school district.

    Pride said the school does have evacuation policies with the town and several schools. "The schools throughout Indiana have agreements to evacuate from one school to the other."

  • Heard from North Putnam Middle School sixth grade teacher about the increase in the class sizes. This teacher explained to the board that following winter break, there were four new students in her general education class. That brought her class size up to 37 students.

    Pride informed the teacher that the board and corporation was aware of those number increases and are looking into it.

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