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South Putnam sets meeting on possible Reelsville closing

Friday, December 9, 2011

REELSVILLE -- The South Putnam School Corporation, in a joint meeting with the Reelsville PTO, will be holding a special work session on Monday, Dec. 12 for parties interested in discussing the proposed closing of Reelsville Elementary School.

The meeting will be held in the elementary school cafeteria beginning at 6 p.m. with several of the school board members in attendance, along with South Putnam Superintendent Bruce Bernhardt.

"Some of the members said they would go to the PTO meeting so the parents can have some questions answered," Superintendent Bernhardt said. "Nothing has been decided yet, we will discuss the matter further when we have the regular board meeting."

A message was sent out to all Reelsville parents last month alerting them that the topic would be discussed November's board meeting. However, Reelsville parent Joy Frederick said, the notice did not urge parents to attend nor did it call parents of Fillmore or Central Elementary schools.

"This meeting (on Monday) is supposed to be a chance for people to ask some questions," Frederick said. "A lot of people don't really know what's going on."

As of now nothing has been decided, and while the South Putnam board is still exploring the option of closing the school to cut expenses, it is not known when the board will make a final decision.

"It's a decision the board is going to have to discuss," Bernhardt said. "It has not been decided yet when a decision will be made."

Reelsville Elementary School is located at 7840 S. CR 625 West in Washington Township.

The issue is also expected to be discussed Monday, Dec. 19 during the regularly scheduled school board meeting that begins at 7 p.m.

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The board and Bernhardt have already started preparing rooms in the high school for sixth grade occupation. The decision has almost assuredly already been made, despite the superintendent's sidestepping in this article.

-- Posted by Balding Eagle on Fri, Dec 9, 2011, at 6:56 AM

What a tough decision! Parents, get out and voice your opinions. School Board, think carefully before acting (Good Luck. Tough one here.) Supt. Bernhardt, Best of luck to you dealing with the decision.

Everyone at South Putnam, hang in there and support each other even if you disagree with the decision.

-- Posted by cvilleguy on Fri, Dec 9, 2011, at 8:07 AM

The school board should think about the over all effect of the TAX BASE of a community WITHOUT an elementary school! Before closing Belle Union,,there was a store,restaurant,as well as other small family owned shops! These all held a respectable tax base.The property values were some of the highest in the county.Belle Union also hosted the largest fish fry in the midwest,most often with big name stars as entertainment.This all is a result of "COMMUNITY PRIDE",which does NOT EXIST without a school in the area.Now,I don't believe there is a pop machine in town! The living proof of this is in Fillmore! We fought hard to keep Fillmore Elememtary,and as a result,we have factories,two stores,restaurant,town hall,and a very active police dept.,as well as a HIGHLY RATED SCHOOL.Our property values have taken a hit,but much to our surprise are recovering much fast than other nearby areas!Hence,,,A STABIL TAX BASE! Stick to your guns Reelsville!! Your finished without your school! GOOD LUCK!

-- Posted by Ya THUNK on Fri, Dec 9, 2011, at 8:43 AM

I think it would be a shame to close an historic school. The Reelesville School has been there much, much longer than the South Putnam junior and senior high schools. When Putnamville School was open, there were at least two grocery stores close by and other businesses along STate Road 40. Then Putnamville School was closed and the students were either transferred to other school corporations or to South Putnam, and Putnamville became pretty much a non-town.I hope the Board can keep this historic school of Reelsville, open.

-- Posted by nordicheart on Fri, Dec 9, 2011, at 9:32 AM

I am a taxpayer, a parent and a proud graduate of South Putnam. To me this issue is not about closing a school, it is about fiscal responsibility. Central Elementary was built over 26 years ago with the idea being that all three elementary schools would eventually be housed there. Get on board with that thought or move! Most would agree now, that the massive financial investment that was done at Fillmore should not have occurred. But at the time, the economy was stable and the school had the funds for the upgrades. But honestly, that was not a good financial decision nor is keeping Reelsville open now a sound, financial decision.

If you want to secure your town's future, go do it. But do not expect our school administrators nor our school board members to do that work. They are in place to provide the best possible academic setting with limited dollars. Washington Township has not had an individual even on the ballot to run as their school board representative in over a decade. The current representative is appointed because no one else wants to step and do the hard work to help run the school system yet now that tough decisions need to be made these same folks are complaining. You cannot have it both ways.

All four school systems in our county have wide boundaries stretching county lines. The other three corporations have made this work with two elementary schools or less. It is past time that South Putnam starts consolidating elementary schools. There is no reason for South Putnam to operate three elementary schools. This is not a good way to spend our dollars.

I hope our school leaders do the right thing: Be financially responsible. If that means closing Reelsville so be it. Belle Union closed and the world did not fall apart. If that means moving all 6th graders to the middle school wing of South Putnam, Great--I think our 6th graders should be given the opportunity to be middle school students. Over 85% of all Indiana 6th graders are in a middle setting. It is time that South Putnam embraces that successful academic model.

South Putnam is doing great things. For those who think that one of the other school corporations in our county is doing a better job, transfer. Frankly, if you are a parent or a taxpayer who does not believe in fiscal responsibility, take your child and their $6000 gift card that the state tags them with and go somewhere else. We don't need irresponsible people in our school community. Go Eagles!

-- Posted by Resonsible Eagle on Fri, Dec 9, 2011, at 9:51 AM

Right On "Responsible Eagle" finally someone with common sense and logic!

You hit the "nail on the head" dead center word for word.

Fillmore is an incorporated town, Belle Union is not. Fillmore has traffic from Heritage Lake that keeps businesses open.

I would much rather see a school closed than to give up quality teachers, courses, and programs.

You can only spread things so thin before the quality starts to decline. SP is already there with the lowest paid teachers.

A building is a building it does not make a Community. The people make the Community. You have to step up and be willing to plan and host events. Belle Union could still have a Fish Fry at the Ball diamonds, but no one has stepped up to plan have they.

A building is a shell, its what inside that makes the difference and our students and teachers make the difference it doesn't matter what building they are in as long as they are together.

Stop focusing on the building and start thinking about how to make your childs education better.

-- Posted by letmegetbacktoya on Fri, Dec 9, 2011, at 12:15 PM

@Responsible Eagle ... in what sense and by what standard do you consider having sixth-graders in middle school a "successful academic model." Just because a large segment of the population follows a particular pattern, that does not automatically mean that it is right or will be successful in all circumstances.

There is also a sizable difference between a "middle" school and a "junior/senior high school," the latter of which describes South Putnam. Paint it however you like and swallow whatever kool-aid brings the pretty colors to your dreams, but 10- and 11-year-olds do not belong in the same hallways and bathrooms with adult students.

-- Posted by Balding Eagle on Fri, Dec 9, 2011, at 1:43 PM

Have you been in the HS? Do you know their exact plans? Do you really think that little of all of our High School and Junior High students and staff? If our HS/JR High kids are so awful they should probably stop being TA's at the Elementary Schools.

How do you know what the plans are. Did you ever think that they might plan to have the 6th grade take different breaks than the rest of the HS population? Did you stop to consider they would probably have a different lunch hour.

You must have watched too many movies about kids getting swirlies or maybe you got them in school.

Do you know anything about the discipline at the HS?

Did you poll all the 6th grade parents and students to find out what they want to do? Some parents don't want their 6th graders treated like first graders.

I am not sure you have all the answers and I am pretty sure Bernhardt said there were lots of things to be discussed.

-- Posted by letmegetbacktoya on Fri, Dec 9, 2011, at 2:09 PM

My family is all originally from the Reelsville area, some still live there. It would be a crying shame to close the Reelsville elementary, 2 of my grandchildren went to school there and I personally know of the great teachers & education that they received from Reelsville, as well as many of my family members that were graduates of Reelsville High School.

When looking at what it will do to the community, as was mentioned about Belle Union, take a look at the northern most part of our county...Russellville. North Putnam closed Russellville elementary, now what has happened with that small town.

Another thing to look at is the cost in fuel alone that will be added to the expense of transporting children from the Reelsville area to South Putnam, that's not even mentioning the wear & tear on the busses & associated expenses for the busses.

My question is this...what about Fillmore, why not close it instead of Reelsville? Fair enough question isn't it? Explain why Reelsville was picked and how? Flip of the coin?

-- Posted by oldfarmgal on Fri, Dec 9, 2011, at 7:17 PM

Reelsville buses already go to SP everyday. Reelsville is the choice because they don't owe money on it like they do Fillmore.

-- Posted by letmegetbacktoya on Fri, Dec 9, 2011, at 10:15 PM

What everyone seems to be forgetting about the upgrading of Fillmore School, is the fact that some of the school board members at the time could not stand the thought of keeping Fillmore,without making it seem VERY exspensive! A LARGE portion,(Approx. $4,000,000.00) was spent on South Putnam HS.!!! This was done with TOTAL DISREGUARD to the REDUCTION in student population! Now the "ANTI FILLMORE" groupies want to put all the blame on Fillmore! If you don't think community involvement is important in education,,you are GRAVELY MISTAKEN! Without a LOCAL SCHOOL your community involvement,and PRIDE will evaporate!!

-- Posted by Ya THUNK on Sat, Dec 10, 2011, at 11:09 AM

Get a reality check people. Close a school now and cut $500,000 out of your budget, keep it open take your cash balance down and have the state take over and they will most likely close 2 schools.

Its not about Fillmore or Reelsville its about South Putnam. The past is the past and you can't go back. The previous boards made the mistake and now its time to fix it. Maybe, some of you can write a check for $700,000.00 this year and in the years to come so we can keep 3 elementary schools open.

-- Posted by letmegetbacktoya on Mon, Dec 12, 2011, at 7:57 AM

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