Attendance checked at Area 30

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

The Area 30 Career Center recently adopted a new attendance policy.

On Tuesday, the board voted 5-0 in favor of changing its current attendance policy. Eminence Community School Corp. Supt. Susan Phillips was not at Tuesday's meeting.

Area 30 Assistant Director Lora Wood, who recommended the changes, said students who attend Area 30 are aware of the center's current policy. She said the center sends letters home with students after three and five absences.

However, recently, Wood said she had met with principals of the six schools that make up the center, asking them what they do regarding student absences.

She said the principals all said they kept the students in the classes on a non-credit status, giving the student the opportunity to earn the credit if they meet specific criteria.

On Tuesday, Wood told the five board members in attendance that she hoped they would agree to change the center's policy to mirror that of the schools.

"(Attendance and absences) are not really a problem," Wood told the BannerGraphic. "It's just a policy change."

The board gave its permission to allow Area 30 to have students continue in the classes if they have attendance problems and give the student an opportunity to earn the credits for the classes.

Some of the board members openly asked what could happen to students if they were remanded back to their home school, which was the previous policy. Having students come back to their home school would put them behind since students that attend Area 30 are there for half of the day.

"I think the only alternative is to expel them from school," South Putnam Community School Corp. Supt. Bruce Bernhardt said.

But the board agreed to allow Area 30 to deal with the situation on its own.

"It's fine with me to keep them (at Area 30) and try to salvage something," North Putnam Community School Corp. Supt. Murray Pride added. "I'm OK with it as long as you don't become a babysitting service."

Wood said the attendance rate for Area 30 during the 2005-06 school year was 94.4 percent, less than two percent off the state average (96 percent).

Meanwhile, the board unanimously approved a measure for some programs to be rescheduled.

Beginning in August, landscape management will become an all-day program while health sciences will be divided into allied health and nursing.

In addition, nursing will only be offered half of the day and the nursing instructor will be teaching nursing half a day and vet tech the other half.

"There's not addition to staff. We're just moving staff around," Executive Director Michael Walton said. "There's no increase in cost and no increase in staff. It's just internal changes."

In other business, the board:

  • Approved a measure for the center to put signature files for driving waivers in student files.

    "I'm hoping to really streamline the process," Wood said.

  • Approved the 2007-08 budget.

  • Approved the hiring of Greencastle Police Department officer Charles Inman as a part-time law enforcement instructor, effective July 1. Inman will be on a 184-day contract.

  • Approved the hiring of John Wilson as a CIM instructor, effective in August. The position will be a contracted position at the rate of $30 per hour for two hours per day on a 184-day contract.

  • Approved the termination of Sheila Green, secretary/receptionist, effective May 25.

  • Approved making Chad Nunley coordinator of grants data and technology, effective Jyly 1. Prior to the approval, salary was reflected in program costs, but Walton said salary will now be reflected in administrative costs.

    The board meets regularly on the second Tuesday of each month. Its next meeting is scheduled for 8:30 a.m., July 10.

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