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Friday, Apr. 29, 2016

City gets report from school board member

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

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.


Comments
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Why don't they just change the name to the Putnam County Volunteer Fire Department Parade?

-- Posted by ProblemTransmission on Wed, May 12, 2010, at 2:38 AM

hey here's a novel idea to save money...CONSOLIDATE THE SCHOOL SYSTEMS!!!!! I grew up in a county 3 times the size of Putnam with 4 high schools, 3 middle schools and an abundance of elementary schools. We had 1 superintendent, a 2 assistants. that is it. we didn't rent our school books (that is what our taxes went for), the only thing that we paid for to play sports. the most a sport paid was football and it was around $150. Why is nobody thinking of this. Get over yourselves and do what is best for the students in this county. My personal opinion is that the state should intercede and make each county only have 1 school system. Think of the money that would be saved and that could be spent on the students!!!

-- Posted by girlmd on Wed, May 12, 2010, at 7:10 AM

Girlmd, right on!! Consolidation is a great idea. I also agree with paying for sports. They are extracurricular activities.

-- Posted by Heritage Lake Resident on Wed, May 12, 2010, at 8:21 AM

I agree with girlmd, what a great idea! I wonder if the school board has even considered consolidation, think about the money that would be saved, or at least consider combining Cloverdale/South Putnam, Greencastle/North Putnam. We cannot afford to lose anymore teachers, I would hate to see any teacher get RIF. However I do agree that students who agree to play sports should pay to participate, and what about the salary of the coaches, I really don't think tax dollars need to be sent on this, we need to keep music and art in school.

-- Posted by Casey7780 on Wed, May 12, 2010, at 8:34 AM

I agree with girlmd too! Things don't have to be so complicated. Please simplify this overly expensive way of running our schools. and can we please elect and not appoint the board members?

-- Posted by just a local on Wed, May 12, 2010, at 8:45 AM

My vote is yes to consolidation.

Cutting out 3 Superintendent jobs would save this county a great deal of cash. Ridding ourselves of 3 Supers, we will then save more money because we wouldn't need 3 extra building plus the expenses of lights & etc.

-- Posted by mad-mom on Wed, May 12, 2010, at 9:49 AM

Grey wolf,I feel your pain,but I disagree with the assumption that sports brings money into the school.(certainly is no cash cow anyway!)From where I've been involved and seen,most funds raised by athletics go towards paying for referees,buying equipment,refurbishing equipment(as much as $2000-3000 per year to refurbish,safety check and inspect helmets in football alone -required by state regulations)uniform replacements,awards days ect.Its really not much more than a wash at best. Often more is spent than taken in.We pay fees in youth ball and its not out of the realm of understanding to have some fees,how much is the real issue.I do agree with the consolidation recommendations.Too many $100-150k superintendants,and other admin people w/out of porportion salaries. Too many admin people in general. The only way consolidation EVER happens is as one poster suggests,the state forces it. These over paid underachieving Supts. will never give up their gravy train!And they make the choices for the most part.

-- Posted by honestyisbestpolicy on Wed, May 12, 2010, at 10:02 AM

GreyWolf, my son is only two so playing in school sports is not an option at this time. However, I was not a geek and did play sports in school so try again! Furthermore, what sports are you talking about which make money? I am sure that the football and basketball teams do, but track, golf, soccer, tennis, volleyball baseball, softball usually cost the school money. So, yes if you want to play, pay. I went to a school where you had to pay to play sports and it did not cost my parents that much. Reading, Writing, Math, Science, Social Studies that is what schools are here for not to produce the next A-Rod. Maybe if we were spending more money on students instead of sports the results in public schools would be much better. By the way I can't stand Oprah and don't eat chips. Next time come at me with an intelligent argument instead of name calling if you can? I am not sure if you can?

-- Posted by Heritage Lake Resident on Wed, May 12, 2010, at 10:02 AM

I agree with comment above- some of the school board memebers have done a fantastic job and I hope they do not feel unappreciated- nothing against them but the public would feel a lot better if we could ELECT memebers of school obard- we are on of the very few towns that still have appointed school board members

-- Posted by talkymom3 on Wed, May 12, 2010, at 10:39 AM

Grey Wolf; Are you listening to yourself? First High school sports do not pay for themselves and in fact they are a losing cause. A very small percentage of the student body actually plays sports and yet every student is suffering through loss of teacher and useful programs. It is shameful that arts and music is the first programs to go. Pay to play is a great idea! One school system in the county another great idea. I rarely agree with Mitch but he said this same thing before he became our Governor. FYI I played basketball, track and cross country>

-- Posted by Trying hard on Wed, May 12, 2010, at 11:11 AM

ProblemTransmission- do you have a problem with the Volunteer Fire Departments being in the parade?

-- Posted by spmom on Wed, May 12, 2010, at 1:15 PM

The topic of consolidating schools has came up before. I think it is a great idea. Growing up I had to pass one high school to get to my own. Never understood that. Unfortunately the Superintendents will never allow it. They will make sure they won't lose their own jobs, even though they cut teachers. As a community, how can we get the ball rolling. Any suggestions out there?

-- Posted by purduegrad on Wed, May 12, 2010, at 1:38 PM

Grey Wolf, yes I have children that have played sports in the local schools and not against paying for them to play, however I am against a teacher getting RIF when there is not enough funds. My children were raised in a very structured environment, no Oprah allowed, sports and physical activity were encouraged & we follow a very healthy diet. I still think consolidation is the way to go, hopefully the school board will check into this.

-- Posted by Casey7780 on Wed, May 12, 2010, at 1:58 PM

GreyWolf..

for your information I did play sports. I also managed the wrestling and baseball teams. I was involved in yearbook, student council, etc...I truly don't feel that Greencastle or any other school for that matter makes money off of their sports. we had four county high schools back home. school size ranged anywhere from 900-2000 students. I didn't hear any of them complaining about paying for sports. It again is a privilege to play. because the students paid to play it allowed teachers to stay, books to stay free (yes we didn't rent our books, they were given to us at the beginning of the year, if we damaged them we paid, other wise nothing). I personally think that is more important than spending my money on ungrateful children who feel that they are entitled to play sports.

-- Posted by girlmd on Wed, May 12, 2010, at 2:00 PM

purduegrad,

possibly starting a rally with supporting parents, contact our reps in government(my feeling on this is that the state should say each county can only have 1 super and x number of assistants-one school corp). as far as the supers not wanting to loose their jobs-may the best man or women win...that's what life is all about anyway. the one school board could consist of two peole from each original school district (elected of course)-within that board they could elect a president that would vote in case of a tie. the county schools could potentially save $400,000. those are my suggestions.

-- Posted by girlmd on Wed, May 12, 2010, at 2:06 PM

Grey Wolf...

you are not in school to play sports..you are there to learn. Out of the hundreds of thousands+ high school athletes that we have in this country, how many make it big...not even a percent. Your questioning other people on this post about their parenting skills and what they were like in high school ("Sounds like you guys were nerds and are hating on the kids that made money for the school by playing sports. Do your kids play sports? or sit in the bedroom watching oprah eating a bag of chips??lol")...how about we question you, it really bothers me that your more worried that your children may have to pay to play sports instead of giving them the adequete amount of teachers and support staff for them to have a good education. Let me ask you one thing how far did sports take you in college or after....are you in the pros now..I highly doubt it. My child will play sports; however her main focus will be to get an education, if she is good enough to play sports in college, great...if not she will have her education to fall back on and she will be better for it.

p.s.-trust me I would be thrilled to move back home, but this is my home now and since my child will go to school here I will voice my opinion as I see fit, don't like it, don't read it.

-- Posted by girlmd on Wed, May 12, 2010, at 2:37 PM

Grey Wolf, seriously do you feel the need to bash people on here, I thought the point was to help the community. I understand you are for children playing sports, again so am I, but I am willing to pay for my child to play if it would keep teachers in our system. I understand you played basketball & yes that does teach fundamentals, but did that provide you with an education. I agree with girlmd, but to tell her to move back home when all she is doing is giving great constructive advice, please. Do you have a college degree, I know I do, I want the best education that our local school system can give our children. How many students who participate in sports actually get a college scholarship???? Parents need to realize that a childs education is what is important, not a stupid sporting event.

-- Posted by Casey7780 on Wed, May 12, 2010, at 2:46 PM

School administration is a bureaucracy just like government at all levels. (it is a form of governance) The first and foremost job of any bureaucracy is to sustain and grow the bureaucracy. Don't believe me? Just research the statistics and you will see that every governmental department has grown in the last 30 years way in excess of the population growth in this county.

-- Posted by exhoosier2 on Wed, May 12, 2010, at 3:13 PM

Bruce has been misinformed about the transition out of the Old National Trail, maybe he should talk to the parents of the children that were serviced by that entity. The reduction and/or elimination of IA's from the class rooms is going to severally effect the academic abilities of those special needs children that depend on those IA's and other services that ONT provided. A majority of the standard class room teachers are not trained, nor do they have time to deal with individual special needs, and I am not bashing those teachers just simply stating it is and additional burden on them to deal with special needs. I am particularly disappointed that Mr. Stinebrickner agreed with the school board on this budget cut, how unfortunate that he like the other school board members only see the budget aspect and not the individual needs of the students. Admittedly the percentage of special needs students is small compared to the total school system population but is it not the responsibility of the school board to see that every child receive the highest quality of public education.

-- Posted by Huck08 on Wed, May 12, 2010, at 3:22 PM

Consolidation is the way to go. I think the only way it will ever be adressed though is if a group is formed and the group pushes for it at all four school board meetings, council meetings and county meetings. The idea has to gain traction and momentum at all levels of Putnam county politics.

Im not sure if its something that can be put on a ballet or not. I believe Clay county is consolidated as well. Next county over has the blueprint and details of money saved, costs, etc.

I know the state of the roads are constantly tied to no money avaialable because it all goes to education...or so I have read. So there are more than educational reasons to save money for the county.

-- Posted by G-boy2008 on Wed, May 12, 2010, at 3:28 PM

Greywolf, where are your stats that your class brought in thousands of dollars to your school? Furthermore, your point of parental involvement is off base as well. I would argue that parents are more involved in the kids athletic activities than they are in their schoolwork. Not all but many. I can back up with stats that the biggest reason why education in the United States continues to fall behind the rest of the world is because parents are not involved enough in their childs school and schoolwork. I do not believe in throwing money at this problem. It is well documented that the US had the best educational system in the world 50 years ago. What did teachers teach with back then? Textbooks and a chalkboard! Furthermore, the sports that you talk about so highly of did not have state of the art gyms, football fields, basball diamonds, and weight rooms. I love sports and hope that my son and future kids get involved in them, but I will also gladly pay for my kids to play sports. I am a home owner so my property taxes go to pay for the schools. I would rather see my money go to keep teachers in jobs than see the football team get new weights or remodel the gym floor. Once again, if you are going to attack people by calling them names and telling them to go home, you better come at people with a little bit of intelligence and statistics to back up what you are spouting. If you cannot do that then I would suggest post your thoughts, leave the attacks out of it, because in the end you are the one who looks like an idiot!!!!

-- Posted by Heritage Lake Resident on Wed, May 12, 2010, at 3:34 PM

I belive Vigo County is also consolidated. This may be something to bring up at a County meeting. I would love to see this on a ballot. Just an idea, but why not consolidate the sports teams? Four county schools, you get the best student athletes from each school and you should have some pretty good sporting teams. For those who don't make the cut there is always JV and intramurals. Just an idea.

-- Posted by Heritage Lake Resident on Wed, May 12, 2010, at 3:38 PM

I would like to make myself clear...I want there to be one school board and one school system (example: Putnam County School Corp)...I don't want the schools consolidated. I still think that there should be 4 high schools, etc....

-- Posted by girlmd on Wed, May 12, 2010, at 3:48 PM

paying to play is a bad idea....but if you have to pay,does that mean that you could fail all of your classes and still "play because you paid"?

-- Posted by woodsman on Wed, May 12, 2010, at 7:29 PM

I am NOT in favor of consolidation because I do not believe it would actually save much, if any, money. The faulty logic in favor of consolidation is that one superintendent could do the work of four. Larger corporations still need just as many administrators on the payroll. They may not be called superintendents, but they function in much the same way, and require the same pay. The only thing that consolidation would achieve is ONE MORE administrator, NOT three fewer. This is also true for principals. These are all hard working people that do not just sit around idle all day. Even though their jobs may be similar, the are not the SAME. The changes and mandates placed upon schools are what is driving much of the need for so many administrators. If you want to save money, work on repealing insane laws like No Child Left Behind and other unfunded mandates that force school systems to push papers around all day when they could be educating children. Oh, and by the way... if you have a car, use it to take your children to and from school. Eliminating the huge transportation budgets would free up more money than any other strategy proposed.

-- Posted by sneakers on Wed, May 12, 2010, at 10:22 PM

sneakers..

by the last few sentences in your comment I take it you don't work. the majority of parents work and have to be to work by 7 or 8 am. I'm lucky my mother in law watches my little girl, but my daughter will be riding the school bus like everyone else. Can you tell me what makes you feel that one superintendent could not do the job when there are much much larger school corps that only have one superintendent and are doing just fine. You have school corps that have 80,000+ students and have one superintendent. If that one superintendent can't cut it then maybe they should find another job.

-- Posted by girlmd on Thu, May 13, 2010, at 8:40 AM

I would like to make myself clear...I want there to be one school board and one school system (example: Putnam County School Corp)...I don't want the schools consolidated. I still think that there should be 4 high schools, etc....

====================

The schools would need to be consolidated. Look at it this way..you get off 70 on to 231N. You have a high school in Cloverdale. You drive 5mi to 231 and 40...South Put high school...drive 7 mi north and your right down the road from Greencastle High school.

-- Posted by G-boy2008 on Thu, May 13, 2010, at 1:29 PM

I am NOT in favor of consolidation because I do not believe it would actually save much, if any, money. The faulty logic in favor of consolidation is that one superintendent could do the work of four. Larger corporations still need just as many administrators on the payroll. They may not be called superintendents, but they function in much the same way, and require the same pay. The only thing that consolidation would achieve is ONE MORE administrator, NOT three fewer. This is also true for principals. These are all hard working people that do not just sit around idle all day. Even though their jobs may be similar, the are not the SAME. The changes and mandates placed upon schools are what is driving much of the need for so many administrators. If you want to save money, work on repealing insane laws like No Child Left Behind and other unfunded mandates that force school systems to push papers around all day when they could be educating children. Oh, and by the way... if you have a car, use it to take your children to and from school. Eliminating the huge transportation budgets would free up more money than any other strategy proposed.

====================

This would be a question for Clay County and Vigo county to answer. Did they save money? What are the pro's and cons?

-- Posted by G-boy2008 on Thu, May 13, 2010, at 1:31 PM

@Heritage Lake Resident said . It is well documented that the US had the best educational system in the world 50 years ago.

How so?

In 1958 The National Defense Act was passed to help U.S. students catch up with the Soviet Union and the rest of the European countries in math and science.

Women were viewed as second class citizens and could not be admitted to law and medical schools.

National Guard troops were sent to Little Rock, Arkansas to protect students from unruly mobs.

Grown men were bombing school children in schools and churches.

In 1966 Charles Whitman killed 14 people and injured 32 people from the University of Texas Tower. Most of those killed and wounded were students and so was he.

Students were being drafted at 18 yrs of age but could not vote.

Twice as many people graduate from college and high schools today than 1960. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Educat...

We are still behind in math and science but the strength of our system is its universal application.

I am 70 years of age. I was a student in the 50's and 60's. Much progress has been made in our school systems since that time. Let us not go back. Keep improving. Stay involved with your children and the schools. They will do just fine as my two daughters have. My two granddaughters are doing just fine in the North Putnam School District System.

-- Posted by cletis on Thu, May 13, 2010, at 1:33 PM

Cletis,

Columbine

Virginia Tech

The Kentucky shooting. (Not sure of town and school district)

Most inner city schools now have cameras and metal detectors in them!

People can vote at 18 and most do not!

Obviously the 1958 Defense Act FAILED!!!

The standards have been lowered in both high school and in college. Furthermore, you have more people in this country now poulation wise which should I would hope increase your graduation rates in high school and college.

The fact is when the federal government took over education they screwed it up. I am sure your granddaughters are doing just fine in North Putnam because it is a good school and they have parents that care. However, most of the public schools in this country are failures in the biggest way! Students accomplished more and learned more 40/50 years ago. As a teacher, of high school aged students at an alternative school I can tell you that I am getting students who are 18 that can not read, write, or do 2+2. I would say that the government run school systems have really overachieved in the last 40 years!!!!

-- Posted by Heritage Lake Resident on Thu, May 13, 2010, at 4:54 PM

Heritage Lake Resident,

Twice as many people graduate from college and high schools today than 1960. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Educat... I did not state this very well, but if you look at the chart you would see that the percentage of people graduating from high school has doubled and the percentage of people graduating from college has tripled.

Where is the documentation that the education system was better 50yrs ago? I promise I will look at it objectively. I am not saying the system is perfect now but the system 50yrs ago also had some major problems and should not serve as a good example.

You say students accomplished more and learned more 40/50 years ago. Can you document that or is that just an opinion that you have. SAT scores would not support your view, nor would any other quantifiable measurement that I can locate. What measures are you using other than just a feeling that you have?

You do realize that when you end sentences with all capped letters and multiple exclamation points that not only is that not good punctuation but it represents the writers loss of control and represents yelling and disrespect. Hopefully you refrain from that in your classrooms. If you have students 18 that can not read nor write or do 2+2 yelling at them probably will not be helpful.

Cheers and good luck in all your endeavors.

-- Posted by cletis on Thu, May 13, 2010, at 7:44 PM

My apologies for not knowing all of the correct punctuation lingo for internet postings. I will correct that. I do yell at my students when need be.

However, my documentation, is and has been with my own eyes. I have seen multiple kids passed through school not because they had good grades but because they had good attendance or were not behaviorial problems.

My proof is watching everyday new students come into our school who are between the ages of 16-24 and they read at 4th grade level and do math at a 1st grade level.

Maybe, I should have been clearer in some of my points. I will give you that the dropout rates were probably high back then but the US was a different place. Even though we had gone through the Industrial Revolution and bigger size cities were becoming the norm many young people once they reached a certain age dropped out of school to work on the family farm, or get a job to help pay for things. I am sure I am not telling you anything you already did not live through but it leads to my bigger point. Education was important back then but there was not a great deal of importance set on completion. However, even if you only finished the 8th grade you atleast came away with some reading ability and basic math and living skills. That is more than I can say for many of the kids today.

I am not saying things were perfect 50 years ago. However, with the amount of money we spend every year on education in this country now, we should have no HS dropouts and everybody should have a college degree. Nobody should be walking around without the ability to read and do 2+2. Would you agree? That is why I believe the current educational system is a failure?

I fix those failures. The school I work at, I am the high school diploma instructor. Our students are able to earn their hsd online. I work with my students on all subject matter and often have to start with 1st grade material. Not to brag on myself but in my 20 months in this position 67 young ladies have earned their high school diplomas. They got these not because of some great public school system, but because a teacher, refused to let them fail and held them accountable for their actions and refused to pass them on to somebody else for them to deal with. I would also argue that if you compared an SAT test that has been written this year and compare that with one even 30 years ago the majority of student in todays times would score very low on that test. Educational standards and expectations have been lowered greatly over the last fourty years. We will have to respectfully disagree about whether public education was better 50 years ago or in todays time but I have enjoyed the conversation.

-- Posted by Heritage Lake Resident on Thu, May 13, 2010, at 9:28 PM

@girlmd

Yes, I do work, and yes, I have provided transportation for my children to and from school for the past decade. This can be accomplished with the help of child care providers and carpooling. My point is that IF parents took on this responsibility for themselves and did not use the school bus as a convenience and a babysitter we could save money. It might be possible to have before and after school care paid for by parents who have work schedules that do not match school schedules. It is so frustrating to me when I drop my son off at school and wait as a school bus picks up a child who will be taken to a school less than one mile away. This parent has what appear to be multiple functional cars in the driveway. This parent does not appear to be rushing off to work. I believe that a parent's first and most important job is to participate fully in the education of their child. This includes homework, transportation, clothing, rest and nutrition. Schools these days do just too many things that society used to be able to count on parents to do.

-- Posted by sneakers on Sat, May 15, 2010, at 12:15 AM

I taught at 5A school in northern Indiana before coming to teach in Putnam County. Simply put, enormous schools do not save money, and the quality of life for the students is far worse. Larger schools produce increased drug and violence problems, more student apathy due to non-involvment, and the big schools must spend additional money to curb these problems.

-- Posted by thingsfallapart on Mon, May 17, 2010, at 11:20 AM


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