Money on minds of North Putnam board

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Dollars and sense were on the minds of the North Putnam Community School Corp. at their Thursday night board meeting as they considered the cost of interest in having to borrow money because the June draw from property taxes is delayed.

Since the school corporation began borrowing money because of late tax draws from the state in 2005, they have paid $198,208.32 just in interest on loans.

"We paid all this money in late fees since our draws have been delayed starting in 2005. Think about how much money has been taken away from our students just to pay for having to borrow money," said School Superintendent Murray Pride. "And we're not the only school who has spent this kind of money. Most of the schools in the state are in the same boat."

Board member Charlie Boller agreed the numbers were staggering.

"It just doesn't make good sense, but I don't know what we can do about it," he said.

The board voted in favor of Pride's request to accept a temporary loan. The interest on the loan is not included in the figure mentioned above.

The loans are necessary because Putnam County has not been certified by the state to receive property tax monies yet.

Much discussion took place following Athletic Director Jason Sim's report to the board which included concerns for saving transportation costs for athletic events.

Sims has developed several plans to keep costs in the department as low as possible. He did say it will be necessary to raise the cost of attending WCC games to $5.

Some consolidation of the number of team members going to away games and riding the bus is planned to help cut costs.

"We'll use the small buses for most games," said Sims.

He also plans to use some in and out of season fundraisers as well as concession stand monies to help offset transportation costs.

In other business, the board approved an increase of 15 cents in breakfast and lunch fees for all schools.

The new cost for a student lunch at the high school or middle school will be $2.25.

The elementary cost is $2.15 and adults will cost $3.10.

Breakfast will be $1.25 for all schools and $1.65 for adults.

The board also heard about an "Instant Alert" system which the corporation hopes to have in place soon.

The emergency announcement system is made by Honeywell and will allow up to four phone numbers to be entered for emergency notification to parents and caregivers. Examples would be disaster notices, school closings and early dismissals.

The computer lab will be open during next semester's registration for parents to add or update numbers for notification.

Cell phone numbers can be used in the system.

Board members also discussed approving a first reading about a student transfer policy. It would stop cash transfer tuition for students attending or wishing to attend schools in the North Putnam system who do not live in the corporation's district.

This would apply to staff as well as community members.

The vote failed with Boller, McGaughy and Beck voting no. They asked for more information to be gathered and to have the issue revisited.

"Not having a policy in place when state law changes in January will impact the prime time numbers," said Pride.

He explained that no policy could mean a student who lives in the South Montgomery district could come to North Putnam without paying tuition.

The reason for instituting a "no exceptions" policy lies with discriminatory issues.

Board members asked Pride to bring back additional information and to take another vote when the full board was present (two board members were not available for Thursday's meeting).

The following personnel motions were approved at the meeting: Resignations from Matthew Verplaetse as assistant band director at the high school and middle school; and Sarah Iams as high school counselor.

Dale Brown was approved as a summer driver's education teacher, Rebecca Rominger as a high school counselor and head high school volleyball coach.

Also Kelly Thomas, was approved as the new high and middle school choral director and Chase Hiland as a high school English teacher.

Rachel Clyngenpeel was hired as assistant band director at the high school and middle school and Ashley Cook as high school Spanish teacher.

Lillie Brickert was approved as custodian and the termination of Laura Keithley as Roachdale custodian was approved.

The North Putnam Community School board regularly meets on the third Thursday of the month at the corporation's headquarters in Bainbridge.

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