North Putnam School Board members voted Thursday night to change their drink contract to Coca-cola while passing the first reading of a policy prohibiting tuition transfer students from attending NPCS after Jan. 1, 2009.
After considerable discussion and having a second option available, board members voted 3-2 to approve the first reading of the policy.
The option is being considered because of upcoming changes to the distribution of funds to schools. Superintendent Murray Pride explained to board members that in January 2009, the State of Indiana will take over the distribution of funds from the General Fund. This includes tuition transfer monies which schools can currently collect from students who attend school but do not live in the school district.
The board considered this option at the last board meeting but tabled a decision because the full board was not present. Two board members were absent from Thursday's meeting but after much discussion, board member Charlie Boller made a motion to accept the option and was seconded by Carl Blau.
Amendments and changes can still be made to the policy at the second reading.
Murray explained that many schools are looking at instituting such policies because those that do not may have taxpayers paying costs for students who do not live in the school district. After January 2009, schools may not receive the tuition transfer funds and will have to pick up the costs of those students, which is why North Putnam wants to eliminate them.
A second option, which Murray presented, would allow some exceptions with the decision for the acceptance of those students being made by the principal and superintendent.
Currently, the school accepts transfer students if there is space available and if tuition is paid to the school.
Boller, who is a state police officer and was transferred to Montgomery County for two years, told the board that while he was outside the school district, he paid tuition for his children to continue to attend school even though he also held property and paid taxes on that land while he lived outside the area.
"I knew I was from this area and I was coming back here to live. I wanted my kids to go to school here. So, if there was ever a person who deserved to bring their kids down here, it was me," explained Boller.
But, after much consideration, Boller voted in favor of not allowing any student transfers for those who live outside the district.
"Tuition can be a real deterrent, and that will be taken away. I think we have to do all or nothing," said Boller.
In addition to losing a year's tuition and picking up the costs of the student, Pride told the group, if a student is in the system for two years, he or she can stay until graduation.
"For example, if a student came in third grade, paid tuition for two years, tuition goes away, but the student can stay since they have been there for two years," he said.
This means the school ends up paying all the way through 12th grade. In addition to getting students, the corporation could also lose students who live in the district.
"We could lose students depending upon the neighboring school's policies," added Pride. He gave an example of a parent who might work in Danville. They could decide to transfer that student to Danville and North Putnam would lose that head count.
"We need to be prepared. Option one is the safest way to go," added Pride.
He told the board he believed this was a safeguard because the schools and the Indiana Department of Education don't know what will happen after that January 2009 date.
"The North Putnam Community School Corporation operates to educate the students of North Putnam," he stated.
In other business, the board voted to change their soft drink contract from Pepsi to Coca-cola at the Middle and High Schools. After looking at a comparison of what the two companies offered the school system, it was obvious that Coke offered many more incentives including a $16,000 up-front payment to the school, an additional $4,000 payment at the end of the year and a $25,000 payment to the school to be used by the high school and middle schools.
These numbers are based on the amount of soft drinks sold from last year. Athletic Director Jason Sims, who negotiated the deal, said the amount of incentive payments could vary depending on the amount of soft drinks sold.
Sims also explained that Pepsi is moving more toward sponsoring bigger schools.
"They are sponsoring things like signs on the football fields at the bigger schools like Pike. Coke is trying to get into the schools and it's benefiting smaller schools like ours," he said.
Another perk is that Coke stocks the machines including the concession stand. Sims said this is a very time consuming job for the Athletic Director and is looking forward to having the job done by the Coke representative.
The schools do not sell soft drinks in the school during the school day. They offer other coke products like Vitamin water, spring water and fruit drinks.
The board also approved the resignations of three certified staff members -- John Copner as High School Science teacher, Cheryl Hayes as a teacher at Bainbridge Elementary and Kerry Ferguson as Middle School Counselor and Roachdale Physical Education teacher.
They approved hiring Andy Cottingham as Middle School Counselor replacing Ferguson and David Basan as High School Industrial Technology teacher replacing Dave Pasch.
For support staff they approved the resignation of Lillie Brickert as custodian and the hiring of Dennis Shepard to replace her as custodian.
The North Putnam Community School Board regularly meets on the third Thursday of the month at the corporation facility.