The Greencastle School Board met on Wednesday and appr-oved a change to the 2013-'14 school calendar, bringing the Greencastle Community Schools fall break in sync with Area 30 Career Center and the other Putnam County schools.
Fall break will now be Oct. 14-18, which acting Superintendent Dawn Puckett said will serve the career students much better.
"I'm sure everyone is aware that our calendar needs to match Area 30's calendar," Puckett said. "Almost 40 percent of our juniors and seniors attend Area 30."
The calendar originally approved in November had the city's schools taking their October break one week later, the same week as DePauw University.
However, administrators and board members found it more important to make sure they were not doing a disservice to the juniors and seniors involved at Area 30.
"It's a shame that it hasn't synced with DePauw, but we have to put our students first," board member Denise Sigworth said.
With different fall breaks, Greencastle High School students attending Area 30 would either have missed a week of their vocational classes or would have gotten no fall break.
"With the high percentage of our (junior and senior) students at Area 30, we have no other options," board president Mike Dean said.
The new calendar includes two other changes.
The 2014 graduation date is now May 23, not May 30. This has no effect on this year's graduation.
Additionally, a spring 2014 teacher professional development day was changed to Jan. 6, giving students an extra off at the end of winter break.
Besides adjusting next year's calendar, a change was approved for later this spring. A snow makeup day had been scheduled for May 10, the same day as the Advanced Placement biology exam, which the school is not at liberty to change.
To avoid the conflict, the makup day has been moved to April 1, the first day after spring break.
In other business:
* The board discussed the possibility of a school climate audit, a suggestion made by an audience member during the December board meeting.
Having discussed the audit with a number of members of the school community, Puckett suggested the school might be better served by waiting several months, perhaps even until the fall semester, to conduct such an audit.
A number of parties have expressed misgivings about conducting an audit so soon after the departure of former superintendent Lori Richmond.
Board vice president Mike White suggested the results of an audit conducted now would have mixed results -- some reflecting Richmond's tenure, others reflecting changes in the time since.
"We're auditing two climates," White said.
No decision was reached, but the board members generally agreed such an audit is a good idea, but that it should be scheduled at a later date.
* Ridpath Primary School has been hit especially hard by flu season. On Tuesday and Wednesday, absentees topped the 20-percent mark, the threshold at which a school must report the issue to the Indiana State Department of Health.
Puckett said across all five school buildings this flu season, things seemed to get better as the week went on, so she was hoping for better numbers on Thursday and Friday.
All other school buildings have been staying below 10 percent on their absentee rates.
Normal absentee rates outside of flu season tend to be 2 or 3 percent.
* The board approved 15 personnel items.
Michelle Thomas was hired as ESL instructional assistant at Deer Meadow and Tzouanakis.
Tiffany Trissell transferred from substitute to full-time bus driver. Jo Ellen Remsburg transferred from GHS ECA treasurer to database coordinator.
The board accepted the resignations of Jamie Porter and Monica Porter as bus drivers.
Michelle Boller, Michael O'Neal, Megan Criss, Josh Snellenberger and Gloria McGrew-Cooper were hired as substitute teachers.
Kathy Miles was hired as a substitute cafeteria assistant.
Four coaching items were approved: Brenda Beller and Kayla Birt as volunteer assistant girls' tennis coaches, Jamie Sibbett as volunteer seventh grade girls' basketball coach and Bob Hedge as girls' varsity golf coach.