NPCSC tackles swimming, Obamacare and technology

Friday, May 16, 2014

BAINBRIDGE--The North Putnam Community School Corp. tackled swim programs, assistant football coaches, paperless technologies, new lunch programs and more at its monthly meeting held on Thursday.

The meeting opened as it usually does, with recognition of students who have succeeded in various aspects of the school.

Roachdale students Callie Knowling, Emma Kelly and Lucas Murphy were all recognized for receiving a perfect score on the third-grade IREAD program.

Retiring principal JoEllen Cook presented awards to Emma Neal and Joseph Kirkham for their achievements in the KIDS FIT program. As part of the 12-week pilot program, kids ran one mile every Friday, sometimes even during their recess, training to run the last 1.1 miles in the mini-marathon that took place on May 3.

NPMS and NPHS were honored for their placement in the Academic Superbowl, with four out of five teams placing in the top ten of the state. The math team placed fourth overall, English, fifth, Science seventh and the interdisciplinary team placed ninth.

Robin Smith presented an outline for introducing Subway subs as part of the school lunch program. The sandwiches would come from Crawfordsville, with six-inch subs for middle and high school students and four-inch sandwiches for the grade school.

The cost of a six-inch sub, fruit and corn chips was calculated to cost $2.60, the same amount as the standard meal currently offered. The Subway lunch program would not negate the current menu options but would be offered in addition to present menu items.

The board approved the program on a 9-week introductory basis to be initiated at the start of next school year.

In the ongoing conversation between staff members whose hours were affected by the stipulations of the American Care Act (Obamacare), Noel felt the need to address the issue with matter-of-fact clarification suitable for the setting.

"You've been put in a tough situation because of a law we had to abide by," Noel said.

With the passage of the ACA, the insurance that the school would be required to pay for the affected staff members if they exceed a set amount of hours would cost the school an exorbitant amount of money, and this caveat seems to be the crux of the issue.

The superintendent also addressed rumors regarding the issue, clarifying that instructional assistants have indeed received a raise in compliance with the step program, but that the raise simply isn't as much as the instructional assistants would like.

Noel also pointed out that the decision about the hours available for the affected individuals, is a by-product of the laws that the school corporation is forced to obey and that ultimately they will continue talking about the issue but that, for the time being, the school corporation has done all it can within the law.

"We'll still keep this up for discussion, we'll still talk about it, it's not a dead issue," Noel assured.

Superintendent Dan Noel presented his K-12 swimming program to the board. With an overall cost of $14,535, utilizing existing bussing routes and Noel's desire to put the pool to a better use for both the students and the community-at-large.

The program had the support of board members, but questions about logistics regarding teachers, lifeguards and locker rooms held up the approval of the program.

"I like the concept," said board member Oliver Haste.

Haste, like other board members, seemed in favor of the program but expressed the desire to learn more about particular details of the program. The issue was tabled until next meeting.

Paperless technologies for board members was a hot topic as discussion on switching to a more technology based approach to presenting the multitude of documents needed for board members. Two different levels of participation were presented, as was the use of either a laptop of a tablet.

Benefits of the paperless program include cutting down on paper waste, ability to share data and documents simultaneously, the ability to post board meeting notes online instantaneously, save work hours and it would help separate the use of personal devices for business work.

After some debate regarding whether the program would indeed end up saving money, including a rough calculation of paper and hours that would be saved, the board decided to go with the lower level of the paperless program, utilizing laptops with the ability to upgrade both hardware and software at a later date.

In other business:

* Willie Gaskins was present to inquire why his name had been withdrawn as the girls' soccer coach. Gaskins was informed by the board that no matters of personnel are allowed to be discussed at the monthly meeting but that he was welcome to arrange a meeting with the board in private.

* Julie Mitchell from the YMCA informed the board and attendees that the YMCA is excited to be in the area and that the organization would like to partner with schools to provide after school programs. Mitchell cited the YMCA's ability to promote healthy living, social awareness and to provide structure for youth and young adults.

* The board approved $5,400 to be used for a new backstop at Roachdale Elementary.

* The board discussed policy related to the selection of Valedictorian and Salutatorian. Incoming principal Jason Chew supported the current policy, but added that he thought calculating GPA in the seventh week of school would benefit students receiving the honor.

* The board discussed a loud "popping" noise that has occurred since the installation of the new roof. After a conversation between the board and a representative of the design firm responsible for the roof, it was determined that the firm would investigate the noise but that the contractor would also need to be present to help diagnose the noise.

* The board approved hiring assistant high school football coaches Kyle Adams, Dave Catt, Travis Franklin, Ollie Haste, Jim Hess, Bucky Kramer, Randy Summers, Shane Vandivier, Caleb Vondersaar, Mark Smith and Dan Vukovitz.

* The board approved hiring assistant middle school football coaches Mike Arnold, JC Mandeville, Allain St. Victor Duncan, Tyler Shorter and Chuck Tilton.

* The board approved hiring Travis Franklin, Tyler Shorter and Adam Smith for summer help and summer maintenance.

* The board approved transfers for Tyna Dillon, Julie Parrish and Nina Boller.

* Susan Trent will resign as girls' track and field coach at NPMS effective at the end of the 2014 season.

* Kathi Elliott has resigned as musical director at NPHS effective May 15.

* Linda Keuneke will resign as math teacher at NPHS effective at the end of the 2013-14 school year.

* The board approved to advertise for a lifeguard opening at the pool in preparation for the swimming program proposed by superintendent Noel.

The next board meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on Thursday, June 19.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: