GREENCASTLE -- South Putnam Community School Corp. Superintendent Bruce Bernhardt expects the current legislative session to bring about big changes in the educational climate of Indiana.
"It'll be interesting," he told the South Putnam Community School Corp. Board Tuesday night at its monthly meeting. "We'll continue to watch what's going on and bring these items to your attention as we go forward."
Bernhardt said Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett seemed to be focused on creating more charter schools and private options, as well as making changes to how collective bargaining is handled.
"Those are things that could affect us quite a bit," Bernhardt said.
Bernhardt also expressed concern that money that should go to education might be "funneled off to other areas."
Board member Steve Cash reminded the board and the audience that Rep. Jim Baird (R-Greencastle) and Sens. Connie Lawson (R-Danville) and Richard Bray (R-Indianapolis) all had surveys on their websites for the purpose of collecting constituents' input. "They use those things tremendously," Bernhardt said. "If 60 or 70 percent say they want to do it this way, they tend to go that way. Education is going to be at the forefront this year ... we need to put our two cents in."
Bernhardt requested approval from the board to purchase new curtains and curtain hardware for the high school stage. He said the one quote he had gotten was for $17,000, but that he planned to seek another quote before committing to any purchases.
"The curtain and hardware have not been operational for some time, and they don't meet code anymore," Bernhardt said. "There are other things we need to address, but the track, mounting and curtain are the most critical items."
Bernhardt said he didn't believe any of those items had been repaired or replaced since the 1970s.
The board gave Bernhardt permission to spend up to $25,000 on the project.
The board also unanimously approved the 2011-12 school calendar. The first student day of the school year will be Aug. 16 and the last will be May 23, 2012.
In other business, the board approved the sale of a handicapped-accessible bus to Old National Trail, the special education cooperative the corporation partners with.
"We have two handicapped buses equipped with wheelchair lifts, and this one is one we would be trading in when we do our bus purchasing this year," Bernhardt said.
ONT will pay the corporation $7,500, which is what the trade-in value of the bus would have been.
"ONT has two special education classes located at Area 30 (a vocational center located in Greencastle)," Bernhardt said. "They use their buses to take students out into the community for job training and things like that."
Bernhardt said the sale will be finalized when the ONT board meets in February.