When the 2008-09 school year starts in August, students in the Greencastle Community School Corp. will have to pay for at least a portion of their transportation to school-sanctioned trips and events.
"Beginning this fall, all athletic and field trips will be paid for by the groups," Greencastle Schools Superintendent Robert Green told the school board Wednesday night at the board's meeting.
Green said exact fees had not been established, and that he was working with school administrations to come up with ways to raise funds so the burden on the students wouldn't be as heavy.
"Next month we hope to present you with some specifics," Green said. "I've surveyed schools in our part of the state, and about half already charge. The rest indicated that they'd be starting this fall."
Board member Jack Berry said he would like the school's Booster Club involved as details of the transportation fee schedule were hammered out.
"There are going to be kids who are going to struggle to pay this," Berry said.
Board President Mike Dean wanted to make sure all money garnered from trips would go directly into the transportation fund, and Green said that it would.
"When I did the study on this, I went with $4 a gallon," Green said. "I may have low-balled it."
Dean asked Green if he had looked into converting the school's gasoline-powered buses to propane (diesel vehicles cannot be converted).
"I've been looking into it, and it's fairly costly," Green said.
Green also updated the board on the development of a Human Relations/Diversity Committee for the district.
"We've decided it would be best to have one committee serve the entire district," he said. "I've asked all the principals to nominate four parents per building."
The purpose of the committee, Green said, will be to "open lines of communication, dispel rumors and address problems while they are small."
"This will not be a session to come in and complain about a teacher, a principal or a coach," he said.
Green said the first meeting of the committee would likely be held in September.
Teacher Shannon Fritz updated the board on the progress of the high school's Final Exam Opt-Out pilot program, which has been in place for the last three semesters.
The gist of the program is that students with exemplary attendance who are passing their courses can opt out of taking final exams.
Attendance rates at GHS climbed .2 percent since the program was launched. Fritz asked for another semester to gather data related to the program, and the board unanimously approved her request.
Also at the meeting, retiring staff members Pat Gauly, Ken Mitchell, Melba Thomas, Matt Huber and Virginia Trout were recognized, as were retiring board members Barry Fisher and Mark Kannowski.
Green announced that Kelly Lewis would take Fisher's place on the board effective July 1.
New hires approved at the meeting included eighth grade teacher Dan Layton, computer and middle school media center instructional assistant Stacy Robinson, Tzouanakis computer lab assistant Celeste Perry, Tzouanakis special education instructional assistant Brenda Beams and Tzouanakis fifth grade teacher Jennifer McComish.