ROACHDALE -- When first-year Superintendent Dan Noel began his North Putnam career in May, he was embarrassed by the sound quality in the high school gym.
Noel said he went to a musical in the spring and he was unable to hear it in the back.
Since then he's made it his quest to make a change.
On Thursday the North Putnam School Board approved $29,000 to modernize and repair the stereo in the high school gymnasium.
With the help of the choir director, knowledgeable community members and new athletic director John Danaher, Noel said he believes the new sound system will be money well spent.
"I just think our kids need to have a first-rate system," Noel said.
Danaher added that although the system will be used primarily by the choir and for assemblies, the sports programs will see some gains.
"The athletic department benefits from whatever we have in that system," Danaher said. "It's going to be a lot tighter system than what's been done in the past."
Once it is installed -- hopefully, before the winter concerts in December, Noel said -- a number of faculty members will get extensive training so the system doesn't go to waste.
"I know it's pretty needed, I just want to make sure that we're able to use that to the potential that we need it," board member Ollie Haste said.
Haste suggested that the intensive training -- more than just a few hours, Noel said -- be filmed.
The board approved the purchase by a 6-0 vote. Board member Charlie Boller, whose term is up in December after he chose not to seek re-election, abstained, saying he's been trying to make a change to the sound system for eight years and nothing was done.
The board meeting was held at Roachdale Elementary School.
Noel gave the floor to Roachdale principal Scott Spencer, who told the board it's been a busy year for the staff and kids.
The primary focus, Spencer said, has been installing a 90-minute reading block each day.
The school had over 100 percent attendance at last month's parent-teacher conferences, which counts single-parent homes, and earned $7,600 at a recent PTO fundraiser.
In other business:
* Noel said the board talked about redistricting with an ACLU attorney in an executive session before the meeting. After "a lot of discussion," the ACLU gave North Putnam a deadline of Nov. 30 to correct its problem.
* The board approved a number of personnel decisions. Patrick Burke resigned as high school health aide, Judith Proctor (Bainbridge teacher, effective at the end of the year), Debbie Carrico (food service director), RhoDonna New (bus driver) and Barbara Schultz (bus driver) retired.
Eschol Eavey (cafeteria aide) was terminated.
Margaret Smith (middle school special education), Karen Noel (high school treasurer) and Lori Danikow (high school cafeteria aide) were hired.
Kristie Hankins (girls' basketball volunteer assistant), Bucky Kramer (middle school wrestling head coach), Michael Murphy (high school assistant wrestling coach), Bradi Fielden (middle school academic coach) and Robin Smith (cafeteria) were hired.
* All three newly-elected board members, Darrell Wiatt, Jim Bowling and Jill Summerlot, were in attendance and following along with board packets.