North Putnam Board considers building improvements

Thursday, October 18, 2007


Assistant Editor

The North Putnam Community School Corporation is in a prime position to undertake a building project, according to the results of a feasibility study presented to the school board Thursday night.

Robert Boyd with Indiana State University led the team of North Putnam staff in performing the recent study. What they found is that the corporation has some specific needs at each of the corporation’s four buildings and that current finances and the economy are such that a building project is appropriate at this time.

“You’re at that magical point in time where you’re not going to overburden your taxpayers,” Boyd said.

Breaking down the numbers, Boyd said North Putnam can safely carry an outstanding capital debt of between $46 million and $69 million and that currently it has a capital debt of around $6 million. He said he believes there is a way for the corporation to structure its finances so as to have a “negligible impact on the taxpayers.”

There were no specific amount of debt discussed at Thursday night’s meeting and Supt. Murray Pride urged that the plan was just a reference point as the school board and the corporation look to the future.

“This is the first step,” he said. “We don’t have to implement everything we see in the plan.”

Some of the things included in the plan included:

Windows and the roof at Roachdale need attention and some rooms are not necessarily being used for their intended purpose.

Bainbridge is a crowded facility, operating at nearly capacity. There’s not a lot of room to expand based on where the building sits on the property.

The heating, ventilation and air-conditioning at both elementaries needs to be addressed.

At the middle school, more general and special purpose classroom space is needed, in addition to more locker space.

The high school has the greatest needs, including the need for updated science labs, fine arts, media center upgrades, technology upgrades, family and consumer science and cafeteria upgrades.

“It’s time to pay attention to these things,” Boyd said of the high school.

As the school corporation considers how to pay for the improvements, Boyd said there is a concern that for North Putnam specifically, the tax rate has fallen 73.5 percent in recent years. Also, the population of people age 25-44 is dropping and is projected to continue falling as the older population, age 60 and above, is continuing to age in the school district, Boyd said.

All this, combined with a students population that has plateaued in the last three years and, in fact, is falling, makes it difficult to plan for expansion, Boyd explained. He said he believes the key to getting the state finance agency to approve a capital improvement project is two-fold " to convince them of the educational need for one and to have a plan for how to pay for it.

Board members took the plan under advisement Thursday night but didn’t take any action or discuss where they might go from here.

In other business, the board:

Learned that the ADM (or A Day’s Membership) for the corporation, taken last month, has dropped by 68 students. Pride said this translates to a project loss of state funding of $200,000.

Agreed to advertise for additional appropriations to the annual budget. The specifics were not discussed, but Pride said the board would be asked to consider at next month’s meeting, following the advertisement in the newspaper.

Approved personnel: hire Holly Depp, middle school teacher; resignation Nikkia Berry and Mitch Osmon, instructional aides; hire Joey Clampitt, custodian; hire Tina Hall, instructional aide; hire Jessica Hasselburg, instructional aide; hire the following extracurricular staff: A.J. Brewer, asst. wrestling coach, Josh Stigall, asst. wrestling coach, Susan Clark, grade 8 girls’ basketball coach, Dan Lucas, grade 7 girls’ basketball coach, and Craig Franklin, high school asst. basketball coach.

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