The biggest piece of news Greencastle Schools superintendent Robert Green had to deliver at Wednesday's meeting of the Greencastle School Board, he did with a great deal of regret.
The superintendent pointed out that the school has achieved a great deal during Church's four years as principal, including the school being named one of Indiana's Best Buys last month by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce.
"I give Jim Church a lot of credit for leadership," Green said. "We will try to continue the work he's started."
While Church was not present at Wednesday's meeting, his admirers on the board were not shy about also voicing their praise.
"When I first came on the board, we had a lot of inconsistencies at the high school. Jim has stabilized things and will be truly missed," Board President Michael Dean said.
Green said Church's plans include moving to Cape Coral, Fla., where he and his wife can enjoy the warmth and beaches and Jim can ride his Harley year-round.
While the news of Church's departure may have been the night's biggest, the most discussion came from the issue of the school's transportation system and proposed changes to the bus routes and manning.
During the November meeting, Supt. Green obtained board approval to bring in Stephen Abel to consult about the school's transportation system and what might be done to run more efficiently.
Abel spent two days with Transportation Supervisor Dan Green, learning how the system currently operates and looking at how things might be able to change.
Abel's report suggested a number of moves, including eliminating two of the 18 bus routes, cutting personnel, cutting on overtime and selling excess equipment.
The corporation should be able to make these changes without any layoffs. One driver retired in December and another plans to retire at the end of February. Their routes should simply be absorbed by other routes.
Supt. Green reported the absence of these two routes should save approximately $60,000.
"It's getting us pretty close to the savings we needed," he said.
At this point, though, Abel would like to return to spend more time with Dan Green to talk about further changes, including a complete overhaul of Greencastle's routes.
Both the board and the transportation supervisor expressed their doubts about the need for this.
"I don't know that reshuffling the deck is the answer. There are changes we could make," Dan Green said.
The board is concerned about the extra cost with uncertainty of the benefit. Abel's original consultation cost $3,200 and coming back would cost the corporation again.
"I just hate to spend a lot of money on a consultant and change everything and then two years later find out our system wasn't so bad," Dean said.
Supt. Green will be getting the board more information, and the topic will be revisited in February.
In reviewing the corporation's finances, Green said they have still not received their complete tax draws and, therefore, still have temporary loans to pay back.
He also expressed his concern over the school's current finances, saying he likes to carry a 10 percent balance, but they are currently around 5 percent.
"We're going to have to look into our cash balance and sometime this spring look into some cuts," Green said.
In capital improvements, the only new expense was the replacement of two fuel tanks at the bus barn. The tanks were found to be leaking over Christmas break.
Although the tanks were replaced at no charge, the corporation had to pay for environmental cleanup.
Coming capital improvements for the spring include improvements to the soccer field and middle school football field, as well as the installation of lockers in one of the middle school P.E. locker rooms.
Besides Church's impending retirement, the board approved 15 personnel moves.
The Greencastle Community School Board meets at 7:30 p.m. on the second Wednesday of each month at Miller Education Center.