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Friday, May 22, 2015

Schools expect another set of cuts

Thursday, May 13, 2010

GREENCASTLE -- The news isn't getting any better for the financial situations of Indiana's public schools.

At Wednesday's meeting of the Greencastle Community School Board, Superintendent Dr. Bob Green presented the board with a memorandum from Lance V. Rhodes, Chief Financial Officer of the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE).

Rhodes' letter said funding levels have not yet been determined for calendar year 2011, but that schools should expect cuts similar in percentage to those experienced in 2010.

"We would recommend schools beginning the 2011 budgeting process assume levels that represent percentage reductions similar to the 2010 reductions," Rhodes wrote. "At any rate, IDOE and OMB (Office of Management and Budget) would encourage schools to budget cautiously and conservatively in case state revenue collections do not improve in CY2010."

Green said the news is not encouraging, but the process will be monitored.

"That's not good news, and we'll be watching that very closely," he said.

The corporation was able to cut $472,000 from its 2010 budget without a reduction in teaching force.

GCSC Safety Coordinator Shawn Gobert was back in front of the board on the matter of exterior control systems for corporation's five school buildings and McAnally Center.

Last month, Gobert got permission from the board to continue pursuing the matter, and has since found a lower bid with better options.

Under the plan, each of the six buildings would have a video monitoring system for the main entrance. When a visitor comes to the entrance, he or she would have to hit a button, which would send a call to the phones in the building office.

A school official (likely a secretary or administrator) could then check the monitor, which would be mounted at face level, to make sure the person can be allowed in.

They could then be granted or denied access.

Each school would have to have electric strikes for doors, call boxes and either an indoor (for each of the five schools) or outdoor (McAnally) camera.

The system comes at a cost of $12,057.50 in a bid from Tim Gould of Closed Circuit Audio and Video. This compares to the original proposal from Sonitrol, which would have cost $11,600 for video in only three of the buildings.

With $2,179 from the Safe and Drug Free Grant, this would bring the cost to the corporation down to $9,878.50 from the capital projects technology fund.

Board members expressed concerns including the ongoing cost of upkeep of the systems and the continued possibility of security breach.

Gobert said these could always be issues, but the system accomplishes what they set out to do.

"It secures every building. It locks them down like we're wanting to," Gobert said.

He also said the system could be upgraded if the corporation later sees fit.

"It is something we can build on. It's not a bandaid," Gobert said.

All five building principals were in attendance and said they were on board.

"At TZ, you can be in a classroom within maybe 10 steps," Tzouanakis Principal Dan TeGrotenhuis said. "It's pretty scary that you can look down and someone can be in. I don't think that we can afford to not take this seriously. You don't want to get somebody taken. We don't want to defend that."

Green also voiced his support.

"We're concerned about spending everywhere, but this is very reasonable in my opinion," he said.

The measure passed by a 3-2 vote, with Kelly Lewis and Barbara Bryan objecting.

TZ Assistant Principal Tamra Walker presented changes to the Accepting the Challenge of Excellence (ACE) Program for the upcoming school year. While the plan was approved with only minor changes, more of the talk centered on cuts to the ACE budget.

Like so many other education programs, the state plans to cut ACE funding by 10 to 30 percent in 2010-11. Walker said with as much as $10,000 cut from the $33,924 budget, she recommended the program continue to fund the three instructional assistants and TZ, Ridpath and Deer Meadow. These salaries currently take up $26,184 of the budget.

Board member Jack Berry expressed concern over the cutting of funding for academic coaches. Walker said she was not suggesting cutting any of the other funded projects, simply finding other ways to fund them.

The board also had a number of reasons to be happy at Wednesday's meeting, as several students and teachers were honored for the accomplishments.

The meeting opened with a reception for the Tzouanakis Math Bowl Team, which was the state champion for its division.

The reception also honored GHS senior Hilary Schroeder, who was named an Indiana Academic All Star.

The GMS Math Bowl team also placed fourth in the state in its division.

During the meeting, the board recognized teachers Amanda York, Kyla Dixon and Susan Gillen for their completion of comprehensive intervention model training. Amanda Standers has also taken part in the training and should complete it this month.

GCSC energy coordinator Mike Schimpf presented the board with the Greencastle Sustainability Commission's Green Organization of the Year award, which he and Green accepted at a meeting last Thursday.

"It was a nice way to say 'Good job, way to go' to the whole school corporation," Schimpf said.

The board also approved 54 personnel items, including the retirement of Ridpath Principal Janice True, Corporation Bookstore Manager Gwen Hutchings and custodian Loretta Pierson.

"We want to wish those folks well and thank them for their dedication to children," Green said.

The board also gave tentative approval to a teacher contract for the 2010-11 school year. The agreement will be official if teachers vote in favor of it on Monday.

The teachers have been working without a contract for the last two years.

"It's been tough all the way around, but we did come to an agreement," Green said.


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I think the county schools should consolidate. They could also cut some of the sports programs and use the money for academics. Let's face it, only a small percentage of students participate in sports but every student studies math, science, english, etc.

-- Posted by gramma on Thu, May 13, 2010, at 8:08 AM

While do so many people have such a problem with kids and sports. We should be thankful that so many kids want to participate in team activities and want to make accomplishments at such an early stage of their lives. It keeps them active and off the streets. School sports have been around for so many years, now all of a sudden people are shouting cut the sports programs. The parents at Greencastle are helping out by paying our $12.50 fuel fee. Just please consider the kids and the fact although you may not think sports are important, obviously the ones that play think they are.

-- Posted by familycounts on Thu, May 13, 2010, at 8:30 AM

I can fully understand the concerns the school administration has about security at our school buildings, but it is really sad that it has come to this.

-- Posted by not gullible on Thu, May 13, 2010, at 8:46 AM

we should encourage more students to be home schooled. this would reduce a lot of costs i.e. transportation, teaching costs, and athletic costs as well as lunch room expenses.

-- Posted by albert on Thu, May 13, 2010, at 10:05 AM

Please, can we focus on education, not sports. I to believe extracurricular activites are important, but ultimately education should be number one. Sporting functions are an after school event & optional & yes not every parent can afford it. I do know that youth programs do not refuse anyone in this community, they are willing to work with parents if they cannot afford it, so Grey Wolf how many super stars come from this local community???? Name one over the last 5-10 years that is an all star athelete & tell me what they have accomplished. I can think of a few that have not finished college because they were not prepared and didn't focus on studies, & even a few that had been in trouble with the law. I will tell you a child that is encouraged to do well in school & goes on to graduate from college to me that is a great accomplishment. I wish people would quit living in the glory days of high school, I'm more proud of my child's academic achievements and sporting achievement, but academics will get him further in life than four years of football, basketball, track, softball, etc.... The number of students that participate are only a few compared to the number in the student body, most of those that play sports, play multiple sports but it is their choice. As far as home schooling what qualifies a parent to home school, a college educated instructor or a stay at home mom? Kinda of a dumb question. I know in my household, both parents work a full time job 40+ hours a week, when would you expect me to find time to home school. I am available for any after school events or homework.

-- Posted by Casey7780 on Thu, May 13, 2010, at 11:34 AM

So we save the sports programs that make the school no money just so kids don't get their feelings hurt. I love these arguments. So an education that sticks with someone for the rest of their lives is less valuable than a couple of years of high school sports? Interesting!!! Someone mentioned earlier, how many pro or great athletes for that matter have come from this area in the last 5-10 years? How many went on to play sports at a major college or even the pros? Furthermore, how many pro athletes can you look at who have made millions and don't have a lick of education and end up broke! It is time for these school districts to get back to the basics.

- All a teacher needs to teach the major subject areas is textbooks and chalkboards! Cheap and inexpensive.

- Cut out all sports programs that do not make the school money. The schools much like the federal government need to start living within their means.

- Consolidate the 4 schools and have one super and 2 assistants.

- Allow people to vote on all major school funding issues. Like, new buildings, football stadiums and gymnasiums. This will help keep projects logical.

- This one may anger a few but do away with the reduced breakfast and lunch programs. Parents need to start acting like parents. If your broke go get another job. You decided to bring a life into this world now be an adult and support and raise that child. Stop counting on the schools and everybody else to do it for you. This alone could save a ton of money.

- Not every classroom needs a computer nor does every student need a computer at their desk. Have one or two computer labs in the entire school. Students could use the labs on study hall. This would cut down on electricity usuage.

- Lastly it was stated that the school cut $472,000 dollars and made no teacher cuts, good, obviously they did not need that $472,000 dollars anyway. Keep making the necessary cuts without cutting teachers.

The economy is bad and everybody needs to be doing there part to help out. Just because Washington thinks you can borrow and spend your way out of this mess does not mean it is right. Some more cuts have to be made and should be made. One last thing, you know maybe if we did not have 47% of the US population paying no income taxes we would have a little more money for education, roads etc.... Just a thought!

-- Posted by Heritage Lake Resident on Thu, May 13, 2010, at 1:02 PM

I said it once and I'll say it again. You want to prevent intruders from getting into the school? Lock the doors and put a door bell on the outside. Someone wants in they ring the bell, someone steps out from the office and asks the nature of their business. Simple and cheap but it would require someone to actually get up and see what is going on. Anyone who has ever worked around or maintained surveillance systems knows there is constant maintenance, upgrades, and equipment failures.

-- Posted by exhoosier2 on Thu, May 13, 2010, at 1:37 PM

So we save the sports programs that make the school no money just so kids don't get their feelings hurt. I love these arguments. So an education that sticks with someone for the rest of their lives is less valuable than a couple of years of high school sports? Interesting!!! Someone mentioned earlier, how many pro or great athletes for that matter have come from this area in the last 5-10 years? How many went on to play sports at a major college or even the pros? Furthermore, how many pro athletes can you look at who have made millions and don't have a lick of education and end up broke! It is time for these school districts to get back to the basics.

- All a teacher needs to teach the major subject areas is textbooks and chalkboards! Cheap and inexpensive.

- Cut out all sports programs that do not make the school money. The schools much like the federal government need to start living within their means.

- Consolidate the 4 schools and have one super and 2 assistants.

- Allow people to vote on all major school funding issues. Like, new buildings, football stadiums and gymnasiums. This will help keep projects logical.

- This one may anger a few but do away with the reduced breakfast and lunch programs. Parents need to start acting like parents. If your broke go get another job. You decided to bring a life into this world now be an adult and support and raise that child. Stop counting on the schools and everybody else to do it for you. This alone could save a ton of money.

- Not every classroom needs a computer nor does every student need a computer at their desk. Have one or two computer labs in the entire school. Students could use the labs on study hall. This would cut down on electricity usuage.

- Lastly it was stated that the school cut $472,000 dollars and made no teacher cuts, good, obviously they did not need that $472,000 dollars anyway. Keep making the necessary cuts without cutting teachers.

The economy is bad and everybody needs to be doing there part to help out. Just because Washington thinks you can borrow and spend your way out of this mess does not mean it is right. Some more cuts have to be made and should be made. One last thing, you know maybe if we did not have 47% of the US population paying no income taxes we would have a little more money for education, roads etc.... Just a thought!

-- Posted by Heritage Lake Resident on Thu, May 13, 2010, at 1:02 PM .

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

I agree with all that you said except Im on the fence with sports and extracurricular activities. Although I will say we have gotton to far out on the sports limb..ie too many sports. I think it could be cut back to:

Mens: Football, Basketball, Baseball, Track

Womens: Volleyball, Basketball, Fast-pitch Softball, Track

Something along those lines...I'm using the kiss principle.

-- Posted by G-boy2008 on Thu, May 13, 2010, at 1:41 PM

hallelujah Heritage Lake Resident and exhoosier2! Well said, you brought your kids into the world, you raise them and pay for them! If you want to know whose at the door, get up off your duff and see who it is!

-- Posted by whodouthinkur on Thu, May 13, 2010, at 1:46 PM

Exhoosier, well said, I could not agree more. G-boy 2008 not a bad idea on the sports you selected. Those are the sports that usually have the most participants. Don't forget about intramurals! Whodouthinkur, thanks for the compliment, I figured the post I would get from my comments would be how cold and heartless I am. Nice to see some people still believe in good old fashioned accountability.

-- Posted by Heritage Lake Resident on Thu, May 13, 2010, at 2:21 PM

First of all what does kids playing sports in school have to do with everyone assuming they are going to be pro athletes. I would guess that ninety-five percent of the kids playing sports aren't doing it for a professional career! They are doing it for fun and having something to do instead of going home after school and sitting around or hanging around other places. Why does it have to be sports or education! I agree education is the most important but I do think sports are important to the ones that are playing them. Also, if you attend a sporting event you will see kids are there watching also. I just don't understand why everytime there is an article about budget cuts so many people have to start saying "Cut the sports programs!" Unless I have missed something, I haven't seen the articles read "Schools may have to close because sports programs are causing schools to go bankrupt!"

-- Posted by familycounts on Thu, May 13, 2010, at 2:43 PM

Familycounts, if you have read my post and other post I have made on this and related stories, I can tell you that cutting sports and in particular only certain sports I agree with. I have posted many times about consolidation of schools, getting rid of a good number of the classroom computers which are expensive to maintain and not productive enough to warrant in every classroom. Someone posted about the bus. I agree to a certain extent with that. If you live in town walk or ride your bike to school. That is what I did when I was in school in particular elementary and junior high and that was only 12 years ago. I do not think that all sports should be cut however, those that do not make any profit then do away with them, or put the task of funding that sport on the athletes and the community to raise the money to have that sport. To your point of students watching the sports. You are correct that students do go and watch the football, boys and girls basketball teams. However, how many students show up to watch the golf, track, tennis and swim teams? I know at my H.S. we went to the football and basketball games. I played baseball and hardly ever did any of my classmates come and watch and we were not half bad either. Sports should not be the only thing cut but it should be considered.

-- Posted by Heritage Lake Resident on Thu, May 13, 2010, at 2:59 PM

Exhoosier, well said, I could not agree more. G-boy 2008 not a bad idea on the sports you selected. Those are the sports that usually have the most participants. Don't forget about intramurals! Whodouthinkur, thanks for the compliment, I figured the post I would get from my comments would be how cold and heartless I am. Nice to see some people still believe in good old fashioned accountability.

-- Posted by Heritage Lake Resident on Thu, May 13, 2010, at 2:21 PM

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

Some good old fashioned discussion has shown its always the best. The name calling and insults show immaturity.

Exhoosier 2 dropped my jaw with his comment. Kiss priciple to its fullest and I really truley believe the best idea there is....awesome.

-- Posted by G-boy2008 on Thu, May 13, 2010, at 3:00 PM

Let me get this right-- Let's cut all of the sports programs that DON'T MAKE money? Ok, good by sports programs. Think logically, by the time you pay the coaches, buy the gear, travel to the games, how much does that cost? (Feel free to give details mister AD) Then take the afformentioned figure and deduct the amount of gate revenue. I GUARANTEE you will end up with a negative number!! (Feel free to give the details mister AD) This isn't a commentary on greencastle in particular, if you did the same thing at DePauw you would come out the same. These sports don't make money, don't tease yourself.

-- Posted by idiot on Thu, May 13, 2010, at 4:05 PM

Idiot, you are correct. However, if you turn on the news I know I have seen many stories of big time colleges dropping this sport or that because it cost too much and does not bring in money for the school. The sports of football and basketball in particular may not make a profit, but they bring in more money than golf, track, wrestling, soccer, swimming etc... probably combined.

-- Posted by Heritage Lake Resident on Thu, May 13, 2010, at 4:43 PM

As an immigrant to this country it never ceases to amaze me how much money is spent on transportation to and from school and on huge sports complexes,pools,tracks etc and how little money is spent on teachers and the classroom.It should be every parents responsibility to get their kids to and from school and not the school districts.Schools dont need olympic size pools and professional style athletic facilities.

The emphasis should be about preparing kids for life and the workforce.

My kids dont play sports in school but do particapate outside of school.They are straight A students and I make the commitment to get them to and from events and dont expect others to do it for me.Cut the transportation and sports budgets and put that money into the classroom.You can still have sports in school you just dont need these huge facilities to do it.You could probably save alot with less administrators also.Ive never seen so many layers of management as there is in the schools here.

-- Posted by taz1665 on Thu, May 13, 2010, at 4:55 PM

How about we take away the education funding that we are currently giving to the prisons? Criminals are getting Bachelor Degrees at the expense of our children. Take that money that and give it back to the schools. We are paying colleges for them to get a degree that most will never use. Then we are paying a proctor to sit in on the class in a prison room, since they obviously cannot go to school outside the wires, and for their books. Not to mention the technology that it takes to conduct a satellite class.

-- Posted by spmom on Fri, May 14, 2010, at 7:40 AM

To Heritage Lake Resident: Boy I read your comments all of the time and they are very well thought out and I agree with you about 99% of the time. Here's my 1%... as you know from working in the schools, there is a free & reduced lunch program. I think if you thought this through a little bit, you know that there are many families struggling out there and these children may only get these meals through the school provided program. You also know that some parents don't even feed their children dinner, so this is most important. I myself do not qualify for any of these programs and either I pay or send my daughter to school with a sack lunch. Don't I wish all parents would be in my situation, but they are not and it doesn't seem right to deny children a meal. That's all - and keep up the comments, I agree with you on your posts!!!

-- Posted by SamHill on Fri, May 14, 2010, at 8:17 AM

Someone needs to research the administration to student ratios of school districts before we jump to the conclusion that we don't need so many superintendents. Does anyone in Putnam County really want schools like IPS with one Superintendent? How high of a ratio do you want? Why stop with Putnam County? Be careful what you wish for because we could end up with one Superintendent for several counties the way this is going. Then you will all wish for the good old days when communities could run their own schools in the way they saw fit. We've already lost control of our general fund. What's next? What you are witnessing in your lifetime is the end of public education. Try to enjoy it while you still can before the entire system is privatized like everything else. Maybe GHS could just become WalMart High, or Buzzi High (that sounds good, huh?)

-- Posted by sneakers on Sat, May 15, 2010, at 12:26 AM

SamHill, I understand your points. Many people are going through hard times right now and through no fault of their own. I do not believe children should go hungry. However, and this is just an idea, what if the schools started a breakfast foodbank to help those children who need the assistance. Nothing major, just have people donate, ceral, poptarts etc.... As far as lunch goes you could keep the reduced lunch in tact because you have now saved money by doing away with the free or reduced breakfast. Everybody wins! Children still eat which they should not be denied doing so, and people feel good about themselves because they donated items to the community.

I have made this point on previous post, what did people do 70 years ago when there was no welfare, foodstamps, section 8 housing etc.... they banded together usually through community or church to make sure people had housing, food and clothing. Too many in out society have made it a habit to allow others to take care of them cradle to grave, the problem is that part of the population continues to grow while those who are responsible get fewer. If things do not change this country will be bankrupt and everybody will be looking for handouts!

-- Posted by Heritage Lake Resident on Mon, May 17, 2010, at 8:54 AM


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