GCSC asked to be part of Indiana schools lawsuit

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Affordable Health Care Act ha been on many minds lately, especially in the school systems, Greencastle Community Schools is no exception. At Monday's monthly school board meeting, Superintendent Dawn Puckett brought to the board a request from an attorney about becoming part of a lawsuit trying to rescind certain parts of the act.

The lawsuit was brought to Puckett's attention shortly before the beginning of the meeting and was added to the agenda. Puckett presented this purposed action as what might be the answer to a problem that has plagued many of the local schools when it comes to staffing certain positions.

The Greencastle Community Schools chose to cut hours on certain employees in the corporation due to the Affordable Health Care act which has a stipulation in it that states that any companies that have 50 or more employees must provide health insurance for those who work 30 or more hours, or cut their hours. The lawsuit, which has 15 Indiana school corporations already part of it, is looking to have this part not affect schools.

Puckett stated that if the corporation would choose to become part of the suit that it would not have to pay anything. The corporation's attorney Robert Rund advised that the corporation had something in writing that did not obligate them to any fees. The discussion on the lawsuit or if Greencastle School Corporation would become part of it was tabled until more information could be obtained. The board will revisit the matter at next month's meeting.

The board also received an update on the progress of the technology plan.

Over fall break the middle school was wired with new fiber optics and the hardware was upgraded in the building.

Assistant Superintendent Jeff Hubble has taken the lead on the project and is working with Scott Weltz at the high school to help integrate the one-to-one technology plan. Weltz informed the board that teachers in all of the schools had the opportunity to participate in instructional courses for the switch to the technology-based curriculum.

School board member Denise Sigworth made the suggestion that the seminars be made mandatory, to make sure everyone is on the same page. The board believed that the idea was a good one.

The next several steps for the technology plan is to finish the replacement of hardware and wiring in the rest of the schools and to choose what device might be best suited for the schools. Teachers and several students will be involved in the selection process.

With this spending of funds for the technology plan the corporation has also had a chance to put some away into the Rainy Day fund. Puckett asked the board to approve the transfer of $750,000 of leftover funds from transportation and capital funds.

The board happily agreed to the transfer with Sigworth giving a resounding "Wahoo!" for the saved funds.

The board also approved the funding of raises for classified and salaried non-certified employees. This raise comes along after qualified teachers received a 1.5 percent stipend raise from a grant. The raises to other employees will be equivalent to what the teachers received from the grant. The raises will cost the corporation over $50,000 from general funds and about $10,000 from food service funds.

Puckett also gave an update about the upcoming vote for Greencastle Community School Corporation joining the Wabash Valley WCI Insurance Trust. The WVWCI board will meet today to vote on the corporation.

Puckett believes that the corporation has a good chance at becoming part of the trust and asked the board to be able to accept the invitation should the trust vote them in. The board gave their approval. More information on Greencastle's entry into the WVWCI will be available in a later issue of the Banner Graphic.

The next Greencastle School Board meeting will be held Monday, Nov. 18 at 7 p.m. at RIdpath Elementary.

In other business:

- The Putnam County Library will be working with Greencastle Schools to help better use and advertise the resources that are available to students.

- Several policies were approved on the second reading, including a weapons policy outlining the policy on weapons for non-staff and a separate policy for classified employees and weapons, an update on anti-bullying policy and a student supervision and welfare policy.

- The board approved the adoption of the 2014 bus replacement and capital projects resolution plans.

- Resignations of bus driver Sheila Cash and Deer Meadow Primary noon aide Lisa Smith were approved.

- Several new hires were approved also: Edward Lowes as a custodian at Tzouanakis Intermediate, Brianna Adams as a lifeguard student worker, Cheyanne Miller as a noon aide at Deer Meadow, Michelle Hunsicker as a substitute bus driver and Brenda Clark as a substitute teacher.

- There were also several ECA hires: Paige Tesmer as middle school fall cheer coach, Jana Higgins as winter cheer coach, Taylor Pruitt as eighth- grade girls' basketball coach, Erin Blaydes as seventh-grade girls basketball coach, Troy Remsburg as varsity baseball coach, Travis Nicholson as assistant baseball coach, Ben Wells as volunteer assistant baseball coach, Phillip J. King as volunteer assistant baseball coach, Jason Foxx as freshman boys' basketball coach, Nolan Costin as volunteer seventh-grade boys' basketball coach, Luke Thomas as assistant wrestling coach at the middle school, Matthew Welker as junior varsity girls' basketball coach, Stephanie Wethington as freshman assistant girls' basketball coach, Bruce Cook as freshman assistant girls' basketball coach, Michael Chadd as freshman assistant girls' basketball coach, Lori Gillespie as drama club sponsor at the middle school, Dessa Frank, Hollie Fowler and Carrie Hamilton as drama club sponsors at Tzounakis Intermediate, Wendi Evans and Autumn Ramsey as spell bowl sponsors, Jennifer Miller and Karen Hirt as math bowl sponsors and Michelle Thomas as science bowl sponsor.

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