Greencastle High School has changed its criteria for selecting the valedictorian and salutatorian of graduating classes. The Greencastle Community School Board voted 4-0 Wednesday evening to base the award of valedictorian and salutatorian upon eight semesters rather than seven.
The matter had been considered by the board and administration in the past, and the consensus of the high school administrators and counselors seemed to be to remain with the old system.
But school board members were interested in the eight-semester system, and asked new GHS Principal Randy Corn his thoughts on the issue.
"You could go either way. There are pluses and minuses to both," Corn said. "When you go to an eight-semester format, you come right down to the last days."
"On the other hand, if you get to the last semester and announce it, the person who is named the valedictorian could ease up over the last semester," he added.
Corn did not immediately give his own opinion on the issue, but when pressed, he said he would lean toward the eight-semester format.
"Probably against sound reasoning, I'm more of a proponent of the eight-semester valedictorian/salutatorian, but you have to have a date by which you determine it. I've sat in these meetings three days before graduation trying to determine who was the valedictorian and who was the salutatorian. It can get pretty tense."
Upon listening to Corn's thoughts, board member Bruce Stinebrickner brought the issue up for motion. Kelly Lewis seconded the matter, and it passed 4-0.
Board members also had a lengthy discussion regarding the transportation fees that were charged to athletes during last school year. Athletes were charged $12.50 per sport for transportation fees.
However, since the price of fuel is down and the transportation fund is much healthier than it was a year ago, there has been talk of suspending the fee.
Lewis made a motion to suspend the fee for the coming year, but found no support among his fellow board members and the motion failed.
"We researched this pretty extensively, and we found that there are many corporations have done this for years," board member Michael Dean said.
The matter still could come to the board's attention at future meetings, though, as they took no official action.
"I think Kelly has some valid points," Superintendent Robert Green said. "We need to do something to take the burden off of coaches and the athletic director. Perhaps we can look at another way of doing it."
Wednesday's meeting also featured the swearing in of longtime member Dean for another four-year term.
However, it was also the last night of Dean's service as president. In one of his last acts as president, he nominated Barbara Bryan to be his replacement. The motion passed unanimously.
Other officers for 2009-10 include Stinebrickner as vice president and Jack Berry, who was not present, as secretary.
The board also voted to maintain all of its appointments, took action on various committee appointments and voted to keep the date, time and place of regular meetings the same.
The board and Green also recognized Jon Stark for his 30 years of service to the school corporation. Stark was in Florida during the June meeting, but wanted the chance to thank the administration and board.
"I asked Dr. Green if I could please personally thank everyone at the July meeting," he said. "Although I'm retiring, I still get to serve the youth of Putnam County at the Area 30 Alternative Education Program."
The board also gave Green permission to advertise the 2010 budget as well as the annual financial report.
Green reported mixed news on the finances. On the one hand, things have gotten better, but the new state budget really hurts the corporation.
"I think the overall financial position of the school is a little stronger than a year ago. At the same time, the new budget isn't going to help us much." Green said.