GCSC to 'cease' pursuit of east side land

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Board members for the Greencastle Community School Corporation decided Thursday at its monthly meeting to seek another route for its prospective transportation facility.

After researching the town for a suitable location to build a new transportation center, the Greencastle School Board decided, after significant feedback from the adjacent community, not to pursue the 30-acre property by Woods Edge subdivision.

Thursday's meeting, this time at Deer Meadow Primary, was the next chapter in the facility's saga. The board has employed architects and engineers alike to determine not only what is necessary for the proposed structure, but what is necessary for the property as well.

Up to 10 locations were eyed with only one meeting all of the criteria -- the Woods Edge subdivision. It was determined by various officials and the city council that the facility be at least six acres in size, be located within city limits, have ease of access with minimal railroad interference and contain an operations center.

The school board will now further its search into more appropriate locations.

"We care about our community -- we care about being good citizens and good neighbors," Board President Denise Sigworth said. "At this time it is not in our best interest to move forward with the purchase of the Woods Edge property."

Sigworth went on to make a motion to "cease the pursuit" of the property, which passed with unanimous approval.

The 30-acre property east of Woods Edge meets all of the criteria, but several questions were raised by the relevant neighborhood residents, who received personal invitations to a Nov. 23 public meeting to discuss the complex's potential issues.

Property value, an increase in traffic, noise and air pollution, a possible over purchase and tax rates were cited by the more than 50-strong turnout.

In other developments:

The board decided to go ahead with a scheduled salary-increase for its instructors and otherwise certified personnel.

Teacher evaluations and their respective compensation go hand-in-hand with the results of ISTEP testing, of which the school has yet to receive last year's outcomes.

Using the Educator Effectiveness Rubric (EER), Superintendent Dawn Puckett said she and others feel confident that no instructor should have to have his or her raise revoked, though it was acknowledged that the possibility exists.

"I'm sure everyone is pretty much aware of what's going on in the state of Indiana and how (the ISTEP process) has become somewhat of a disaster," Puckett said. "We don't have the school ratings, we don't have our final scores for our teachers -- and so here we are at the end of 2015 and still have not been able to give those teachers the raises they were promised in August.

"We are asking ... to go ahead and apply the increase in salary to the certificated teachers and administrators who are eligible according to their EER -- (which is) essentially the evaluation that the supervisor has done of the teacher or pinciple -- and later the test scores will be figured in as a piece of that," Puckett continued. "We would like to be able to use those ratings as assurance that these people are well on their way to having the 'effective' or 'highly-effective' rating."

The board unanimously approved the motion, to go into effect on the Dec. 24 payroll.

In other business:

* The board recognized three students Thursday for their efforts in the District Bullying Prevention Poster Contest. High school student Brynne Shuee took the top prize for her design, which can be seen for the next month on a billboard located in front of York Automotive on the city's east side.

* An overnight wrestling trip to Scottsburg on Dec. 29 was approved.

* Several donations of varying amounts were approved: $1,000 for the middle school's music department from an individual who wishes to remain anonymous; $1,200 in two separate grants ($500 for the middle school and $700 for Tzouanakis Intermediate) from the Putnam County Community Foundation; and $836.48 from a GoFund Me account (set up by students who are using the money to open an improvised coffee shop) for the high school's life-skills class.

* Meeting times for January, February and March were discussed and ultimately changed due to holidays and potential snow make-up days. New meeting times are as follows: Jan. 19 at Greencastle Middle School; Feb. 16 at the new administration building; and March 17 at the new administration building. Each meeting is set for a 7 p.m. start.

* The purchase of two buses, one 84-passenger and one activity, was approved. The large McAlister Blue Bird and smaller Midwest Collins buses will soon grace the streets of Greencastle.

* Several hirings, transfers and resignations were approved: Kim Brattain, resignation as language arts teacher at GMS; David Basan, resignation as industrial technology teacher at GHS; Danielle Richardson, resignation as cafeteria assistant at Ridpath; Erin Sprinkle, resignation as noon aide at Tzouanakis; Pamela Hutson, resignation as instructional assistant at Deer Meadow and Ridpath; Elizabeth Bluemle, resignation as bus driver; Jana Boggess, resignation as seventh-grade girls basketball coach; Jana Boggess, FMLA approval effective Nov. 15 through Feb. 26; Elizabeth Lucas, FMLA approval effective Feb. 22 through April 29; Lindsey Conley, transfer from noon aide at Ridpath to cafeteria assistnat at Ridpath; Kimberly Tesmer, hire as instructional assistant at Tzouanakis; Tabatha Allen, transfer from substitute cafeteria assistant to noon aide at Tzouanakis; Kasey Elam, hire as noon aide at Ridpath; Alisha McCollough, hire as instructional assistant at Deer Meadow and Ridpath; Zoe Chittick, hire as substitute teacher; Crystal Manion, hire as substitute teacher; Mike Johnson, hire as junior-varsity softball coach at GHS; Beth Williams, approved as junior-varsity winter cheer coach at GHS; Brittany Labhart, approved as Castle Student Ambassadors Club sponsor at GMS; Joe Newlin, approved as volunteer assistant softball coach at GHS; Amy Weliever, approved as Maker Space Club sponsor at GMS; Cameron Lewis, hire as student lifeguard at GHS; and Grace Gillen, hire as student lifeguard at GHS.

The next board meeting for the Greencastle School Corporation will be on Jan. 19 in the middle school's media center with a 7 p.m. start.

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