Middle school principal Terry Tippin presented to the North Putnam school board some of the changes that will take place with middle school scheduling next year.
Students will continue to take their four core classes -- math, science, social studies and English -- as well as P.E.
Now be offered more courses to choose from to fill their schedule, called exploratory courses.
Seventh- and eighth-grade students have a variety of classes to choose. They range from band and health to agricultural science and foreign language.
The teachers helped play a role in the selection of some of the classes, Tippin said, based on things they are most passionate about.
Students and their parents can select two exploratory courses each semester -- four total for the year -- with the goal of teaching more to their interest.
The school will also put more of a focus on typing, creating a class explicitly for that purpose that is required for sixth-graders.
Books and tech
The school board agreed to split the cost of math textbook rental price increases with parents on Thursday.
Board members discussed different options but decided it was best to pay for half of the $75 fee.
The school also renewed its contract with Five Star, a technology company that serves the school.
For $7,500 per month, Five Star provides unlimited consulting and IT support. They also have an on-site worker for 40 or more hours each week.
The contract was renewed for 18 months.
Five Star also presented a plan to increase the school wireless Web technology but a decision was passed on for further discussion.
Greg Barrett was hired as the new high school physical education teacher, replacing Brian Crabtree. Barrett will also coach football.
Some members of the school board hoped to hire Barrett at a special meeting a few weeks ago but decided to wait for a more public meeting.
They said it might reflect poorly if they were to make a financial decision at a special meeting because of the budget discussion at the last meeting.
Curtis Lawrence was hired as the new girls' basketball coach. He replaces Jim Brothers, who stepped down after the season.
In the past Lawrence has served as an assistant coach for a variety of sports, including girls' basketball.
The school also renewed the contracts of Nathan Martindale, the boys' varsity basketball coach, and Tony Gray, the high school swimming coach.
The board was again distraught by the changes to the general fund cash flow management sheet. Although they voted unanimously to approve, there was a weighted discussion.
"I don't know how we as a board can sit here and spend money when each time we get a different set of numbers," member John Hays said.
The sheet, Hays said, had numbers and projections but no explanation for how the projections were reached.
"As some of us that have sat on the board through very difficult financial times for our corporation know," President Debbie Sillery said, "we need to know exactly what we're spending."
Member Oliver Haste suggested that the projections be remodeled to reflect only obligated money and not possible future spending.
For the remainder of the meeting Hays was the lone vote against numerous expenses.
New superintendent Dan Noel said he expects to have a budget workshop in June for the board members and public to clear up any issues. The workshop is expected to occur prior to the next regular board meeting.