GREENCASTLE -- GMS principal and corporation safety coordinator Shawn Gobert came before the Greencastle School Board Tuesday on the issue of access control systems for the school buildings.
Gobert discussed the issue with the board in 2006, but the issue had fallen by the wayside. Last week's school cancellation after an overnight shooting has the issue again at the forefront.
While no decision needed to be made on Tuesday, Gobert was asking permission to continue exploring the issue of access control for the school.
The board's main questions were about money.
"I'm in favor of this, just like I was in 2006. My only problem is we have a whole lot less money," board member Mike Dean said. "We have just been in a whole lot of meetings since January on how to cut money."
President Barbara Bryan spoke along similar lines.
"I just don't want to add any dollars to our budget," Bryan said. "We've been through gnashing of teeth on our budget and I don't want to add any money."
Gobert said he had been exploring various ways to fund the project, including grant money the school already has access to, as well as possibly finding new sources of grants. Other possibilities include help from the PTOs and some money from the school budget, but not the general fund.
"There's no general fund money that would be paying for this," superintendent Bob Green said.
The current estimate Gobert gave was basic intercom, buzzer and camera systems (where required) for all schools would cost between $14,000 and $19,000.
Board members asked for input from two additional principals in attendance. Both support the idea.
"I've wanted it since the day we talked about it," Deer Meadow principal Gwen Morris said. "I think it's an absolute necessity with small children," Deer Meadow principal said."
"It's a little bit unsettling to think that somebody can come right into the front door and into the office and could be very angry and not thinking rationally," GHS principal Randy Corn said.
Corn told the board of a situation he knew of at a school with such a system where a young man showed up at the front door with a gun. School authorities saw the firearm before letting him in, and were able to call the police without the problem ever getting inside the school building.
While many questions remain such as the multiple entrances to GHS and McAnally Center, the board gave Gobert permission to continue pursuing the matter.
The board approved a change to the math requirements for a general diploma.
The Department of Education requires students to only attain four credits, two of which must come from Algebra I and two of which may come from any other math course.
Greencastle's current standards are, however, six credits -- two Algebra I, two geometry and two Algebra II.
The only change to the GHS standard is for the last two credits. Six math credits are still necessary, but the last two may be from any other math course.
The board unanimously approved the change.
Another change is coming in the course offerings at GHS. Four new courses -- business math, math lab, business tech lab and fundamentals of adult living -- will be added.
Much discussion centered on the math lab. The idea of the course is to assist weaker math students in passing algebra. Math teacher Logan Kuhne explained the current plan is to stretch Algebra I out over two years for these students. This plan is, however, not working.
The new proposal is that these students, which he estimated would be about 30 percent of next year's algebra students, take the math lab in addition to Algebra I.
The math lab would essentially be a guided, math-only study hall, giving them extra time to work on math with a certified teacher.
The board also approved a new math curriculum for the entire corporation. The current version has been in place since 2004. In the future, it will be reviewed more frequently.
The board also voted, on the curriculum committee's recommendation, to delay the purchase of math textbooks until next year.
Green reported that all but one of the corporation's funds are showing a positive balance. Only the retirement/severance bond fund is in the red, but it will be taken care of with the June tax draw.
"Our June and December draws will be on time this year. We shouldn't have to borrow any money," Green said.
The school does, however, still owe money on previous temporary loans. The amounts stilled owed are: $1,501,154 for the debt service fund, $393,330 for capital projects and $330,356 transportation.
Green reported that the plan to move the corporate offices from Miller Education Center to Ridpath is coming in under cost in every area but one, the construction of walls for the new offices.
"It wasn't just a simple, 'Let's put up some walls, and go to work,'" Green said.
The project is still under budget, though.
"Overall, we're still under the $50,000 threshold that we originally set," Green said.
He estimated the new offices would be open around June 20.
The schools are also exploring a program for expelled students that would be a longer term version of the GRASP program. Green said the program is still in development and will be subject to approval by Judge Matt Headley, the school's attorney and the school board.
"The idea is to keep a child off the street, to keep them supervised. More importantly, it would keep them pursuing their education," Green said.
The board approved 19 personnel items.
Retiring staff members are GMS custodian Ernest Early, speech and hearing specialist Allyson TeGrotenhuis and GHS math teacher Larry Mason.
The athletic secretary position is being eliminated, leading to the termination of Destry Fauvergue.
A number of coaching hirings and re-hirings were made, including the re-hiring of Luke Beasley as GHS girls' and boys' swimming coach.