GREENCASTLE -- As budget shortfalls continue to plague school systems around the state, the Greencastle Common Council heard Tuesday night from Dr. Bruce Stinebrickner, one of the city's two appointees to the Greencastle Community School Board.
"Let me thank the council for appointing me to the school board almost two years ago," Stinebrickner said. "I don't think I've been a perfect board member, but I've done my best to serve the students and serve the school."
Stinebrickner spoke to council members about the school board's activities during his time on the board. While he said he was more instrumental in some of these moves than others, he felt there were a number of important moves made by the school board in that time period.
The first of these was GCSC's decision to withdraw from Old National Trail Special Education Cooperative. While the decision was passed in December 2008, it will not take full effect until July. Stinebrickner said the transition seems to be going well, but the true test will come next academic year.
"The expectation was that we would both save money and give our students better services," he said. "We continue to hear good things about the transition. There seems to be better supervision and better accountability."
The budget issue has also been a huge concern. In December 2009, the board learned there would be a $472,000 shortfall in next year's budget. When the news came, one of the board's main concerns was avoiding a reduction in force (RIF) for teachers.
"Every time you RIF a teacher, you are increasing the class size," Stinebrickner said.
Instead, the board, along with a committee of teachers, administrators, parents and residents, found a number of other ways to save the $472,000. Some of the biggest savings will come from the closure of Miller Education Center and the teacher's union's agreement to pay more money for health insurance.
"We're keeping our fingers crossed that we don't get cut again. There's not much more to cut now," Stinebrickner said.
Stinebrickner told of a number of other areas that have concerned him during his time on the board, including finding ways to keep suspended and expelled students from falling further behind, personnel evaluation, the hiring process and the relationship between academics and athletics.
The board expressed its thanks to Stinebrickner for his service and also reminded residents that its other school board appointment will be open this years, as Barbara Bryan is stepping down as of June 30.
Applications are available at city hall and will be accepted until May 18, along with two letters of recommendation. Candidate interviews will be conducted by the council on June 1 or 8.
The council approved a temporary transfer of $50,000 from the rainy day fund to equipment and repairs.
The fire department currently has a reimbursable grant, so the city will pay for the project, only to get the money back and put back into the rainy day fund.
Council also approved street closures for the Putnam County 4-H Parade on July 23. The closures will include portions of Washington, Wood, Arlington, Durham, Bloomington, Locust, Spring, Vine, College, Indiana, Franklin and Indianapolis Rd.
The parade is scheduled to commence at 6:30 p.m. from the GHS parking lot. Cheryl Spencer, who made the request, estimates the parade will arrive at the courthouse around 7 p.m. and last approximately and hour and a half.
Law enforcement will be available for routing traffic along the way.