BAINBRIDGE -- The North Putnam School Board meeting began on a sad note as it said goodbye to three of its members. President Andy Beck, Carl Blau, and Jon Buser will not be returning for another term. All three members received a plaque, though Buser did not attend the meeting.
"I'd like to say thank you to all of you," Beck said. "It's been really a learning experience for me. Good luck to the new board member and to the old ones."
A short while later, a new member was elected to replace Buser's vacant seat. John Hays was elected as the new board member from the Jackson township by a vote of 5-1, with Beck voting against the measure. He will be officially sworn in at the board's January meeting.
Superintendent Mary Lovejoy also brought to the board's attention the corporation's recent improvement in the state's annual yearly progress reports.
"Over the last several years, since 2005, North Putnam has been on academic watch, and I am pleased to say we are now 'commendable,'" Lovejoy said. "We will continue to strive to be an exemplary school corporation."
Exemplary level in only one level above commendable, and Lovejoy is pleased that the corporation has made progress.
The board also announced that it has significantly reduced the level of debt that will be carried over to the 2011-12 school year. The amount of debt is $1 million, as opposed to the estimates of $2.5-$3 million made at the January 2010 board meeting.
"We all know we had to make some really tough cuts that we didn't want to do," Beck said of the reduction.
The board made several cuts before the end of the 2010 school year in an attempt to reduce their debt.
Initially, the board did not approve the new employment of several coaches, with the issue failing at a vote of 3-3, but at the request of a parent, the issue was revisited, reopened, and each individual coach was voted for approval.
Board secretary Charlie Boller said he did not vote for the entire block because several of the coaches had already been coaching their teams for several months now and he did not feel it was appropriate to approve them.
Each coach's position was individually approved.