Parents of students and members of the public will have an opportunity next week to voice their opinions about the North Putnam School Corporation's policy regarding the health and fitness of students.
A first of its kind public forum will be conducted at 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 16 at the high school media center. Corporation officials will hear from the public on issues ranging from the types of food items offered in the cafeterias and items offered in vending machines to how long physical education classes and elementary recess times are.
Assistant Superinten-dent Kevin Emsweller explained, following Thursday night's brief monthly school board meeting, that a new state law, passed a couple of years ago, requires school corporations to develop and maintain a written policy aimed at improving student health.
At next week's meeting, corporation officials will consider public comment as they look to revise the so-called "wellness policy."
As for Thursday night's school board meeting, few items other than the routine housekeeping matters were discussed. The board met in a closed executive meeting prior to the public meeting, as it does ever month.
During the public session, however, board members voted to select Debbie Sillery to serve as board president, unseating long-time president and 15-year board member Dale McGaughey.
McGaughey and Sillery abstained from voting, leaving Charlie Boller, Mark Fordice, Carl Blau, John Buser and Andy Beck to cast the votes. Sillery won by a vote of three to two.
Also approved was Charlie Boller, to serve as vice president, and John Buser, to serve as secretary.
The board also voted to keep its meetings at 7 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month.
The board voted to maintain Tanya Pearson as corporation treasurer; and Gene Hostettler as corporation attorney.
In other business, the board:
* Learned that the corporation received its final tax draw of 2007. There was no talk about paying back the loans the corporation took out to float the 2007 budget until property taxes came in.
* Approved bus bids with Midwest Co., totaling $579,000. With the bid, the school corporation agrees to buy seven new school buses and trade in seven. A secondary bid of $577,000 from Kerlin Co. was received but not accepted by the board.
* Learned that the corporation was preparing its first-ever "Fiscal Goal Plan," which will be made public in the BannerGraphic later this month. Emsweller said that Public Law 191 requires corporations to plot a chart that shows where finances are directed and how much money is spent per pupil on a yearly basis. The law requires the corporation to increase, yearly, the percentage of the finances that are spent on student instruction and education. According the information given to the school board Thursday night, North Putnam officials are proposing to increase the allocation of resources for student academic achievement from 59 percent to 61 percent in 2008. Student instructional support is to be maintained at 5 percent, followed by overhead and operations, which are projected to decrease from 24 percent to 22 percent and non-operation expenses, which are projected to stay at 12 percent.
Emsweller urged that the numbers presented to the school board Thursday night are preliminary and won't be locked in until the final version of the report is issued later this month.