North Putnam cuts 15 certified staff

Friday, April 16, 2010

School board hits stalemate on elementary school class distributions

BAINBRIDGE -- North Putnam school board members made the cuts of 15 certified staff members official at their Thursday night meeting.

The board voted 5 to 1 to cancel teacher contracts for Lisa Asher, Lori Baker, Heather Connor, Alicia Cupp, Holly Depp, Julie Evans, Janet Haarbauer, Lara Lawrence, Sandra McDaniels, Julia Nesbitt, Rachel Clygenpeel Pierce, Jill Schreiber, Paul Stinemetz, Jamie Treash and Hillary Vaughan.

Mark Hoke was the lone dissenting vote.

The board also hit a stalemate, putting a halt to superintendent Dr. Mary Lovejoy's request to even out class sizes for grades three and four at Bainbridge and Roachdale Elementary schools.

Currently, Bainbridge has class sizes for the three sections of third grade classes running at 26, 27 and 27 students each. The fourth grades have 30, 29 and 28 students.

Roachdale's third grade has 17 students in each of two class sections. The fourth grade has two sections with 21 students each.

Lovejoy gave a presentation showing the numbers for the school and outlining a timeline that would eventually only give parents seven days notice if their children were being moved to Roachdale. This is because school officials have to wait for registration to be completed in the fall prior to the start of school in order to know the class sizes at Roachdale.

Lovejoy's plan would require anyone moving into the Bainbridge Elementary district with a third or fourth grader to go to Roachdale Elementary. Parents choosing to move their children to Roachdale from Bainbridge would have their names put into a lottery. Families would be kept together in the elementary schools.

One parent asked the board if doing this was just going to create the same problem at another school.

"Aren't you just creating a whole new issue by taking whole families?" she asked. "You are going to have the same problem you have at Bainbridge now at Roachdale."

Another parent asked what the cap of class numbers would be at Roachdale. Lovejoy told them it would be 23 or 24 students.

When the board was asked to vote on a motion put forth by Carl Blau to accept the proposition and seconded by Charlie Boller, it was voted down 4-2.

"Then I assume the board wants Bainbridge class sizes to remain at 28 and 29 students until we figure out something else," commented Lovejoy.

Suggestions from board members on reducing costs for the corporation and improving the difference in the class sizes at the elementary schools will be discussed at the next board meeting.

Changes were approved for summer school participants at the high school. It is the only school that will offer summer classes to students.

Assistant Superintendent Kevin Emsweller presented the cost of providing summer school to students based on classes held last year. These include English classes, a special agriculture class, band and online classes. Based on numbers presented by Emsweller, two English classes with 48 students cost the corporation $95 per student, the Ag class with 21 students cost $55 per student, band cost $51 per student and the online classes cost $52 per student. These costs are after reimbursement of approximately 73 percent of cost last year.

Board members voted to charge the cost to students and eliminated the English classes, which can be taken online. They determined to keep the online courses because the cost to the student would be $275 to take them without the umbrella of the school corporation.

President Andy Beck questioned what would happen to free and reduced students.

"How many will be able to pay to take these classes?" he asked.

"The reality is that the corporation cannot afford summer school," responded Lovejoy.

Boller suggested that if they could find some money, they could offer it to kids who are on free and reduced.

The recommendation passed.

Beck also made a clarification to the North Putnam Community Association, which requested some or all of the board members to attend their meetings, that the entire board could not attend.

"That would constitute a board meeting and we can't do that," he said. He did offer to take a list of their questions in writing and bring them to the board to answer.

Charlie Boller also made a clarification to an alleged statement that he had been told not to attend the NPCA meetings by the board and Dr. Lovejoy.

"I just want you to know that nobody told me I couldn't attend. I'm not mad or anything, I just wanted to clarify that," he said.

Other personnel changes include the hiring of Chuck Tilton at NPHS as a volunteer mentor and tutor; the resignation of Jennifer Stranger at NPHS as an instructional assistant and temporary English teacher and the retirement of Lucy Wieland with Old National Trail as the educational coordinator.

On a positive note, Lovejoy recognized Dakota Parent from NPHS, who was recently named as a Lilly Endowment Scholar. She also recognized the Roachdale Math Team and the Special Olympics basketball team which was recently named Indiana State champion.

The North Putnam Community School Corporation meets on the third Thursday of the month.

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  • Educational Centers to me would be the only clear and define way to go. I can't image the nightmare for transportation if North Putnam goes with an open enrollment. And how quickly the class could be unbalanced agin just at a different school. THIS IS A NO BRAINER.

    Wonder if the Administrators has taken their paycuts yet. ------------- NOT-------------

    -- Posted by giveadamntaxpayer on Fri, Apr 16, 2010, at 6:18 AM
  • Thank you Banner Graphic for posting specifics, especially the names of teachers who just lost their jobs due to budget cuts. People who took the time to attend the meeting did not have any of this information.

    -- Posted by putnamcomom on Fri, Apr 16, 2010, at 6:50 AM
  • My question is this; how long has the enrollment numbers been an issue at Bainbridge? We are talking about reinventing the wheel here. In two to three years, all of these kids in question (3rd and 4th graders), are going to be at the middle school. I think it would be different if we were talking about overenrollment numbers in all grades. I think a more feasible solution is to create 3 class rooms for 3rd and 4th graders at Bainbridge as a temporary solution. The numbers coming up from lower grades are smaller. Unless we get solid facts regarding our population with regards to the number of our school children, doesn't make any sense to start bussing our kids. We need to learn to flex and bend, to think outside of the box, and come up with some fresh and innovative ways to provide relief. School Board, take advantage of the help being offered to you by members of the NPCA. Whether it be brainstorming, volunteering, assisting with studies, their input could show to be invaluable. It's time to come together as a community, and put away individual agendas.

    -- Posted by RDEL MOM on Fri, Apr 16, 2010, at 9:20 AM
  • The NP School Board (and parents of elementary students) need to visit Greencastle Schools. They have their Primary Schools, which are Kindgarten, 1st & 2nd grade, then the students all go to Tzouanakis, which is 3rd, 4th, & 5th, then on to Middle School and High School. It is a wonderful concept. Every thing is geared for students those ages. AND, the kids go all through school together, so it wouldn't be Bainbridge Kids and Roachdale Kids. Yes, Roachdale would have to go to Bainbridge and Bainbridge to Roachdale for some of their school years. But it would help with class size, etc. Russellville lost their school several years ago and those kids had a long bus ride, but they all survived. Think about what is best for the kids and their eduction, not for the convience of the parents. Kids adjust so much better than their parents!

    -- Posted by interested party on Fri, Apr 16, 2010, at 1:15 PM
  • Seems the reduction in force is common place these days. A local Doctors office has cut personel from their staff due to them not making enough money to cover their expenses. Most find that odd that a doctors office could be so hard up for money due to the economy but they are. This office has actually let go one of the actual doctors there and two of the hourly employees. There is even talk of them closing their office due to lack of income.So no one is safe in this economy.

    -- Posted by Oh My Goodness on Fri, Apr 16, 2010, at 4:43 PM
  • I had children in the crawfordsville district they are also separating the grades into one school. If a child is able to do higher work than their grade level they are out of luck, but if they need a little help from a lower grade they are also out of luck. Instead of getting rid of the teachers at Bainbridge maybe they should have looked at some other ways to but budgets. For example why does the school need 2 secretaries??(they don't) why do they need so many instructional assistants? Have the teachers share. Why do they need 2 people to run the library? An instructional asst does it most of the week and she does great!! When they made their choices on which teachers to get rid of they should have looked at more than just senority. For example Bainbridge is losing 2 excellent kindergarten teachers!! WHY? A nice pleasant attitude is what every kindergarten student needs when entering public school.They need someone who will sympathize with them if they are struggling not try to pass them off to the assistants, or send them out of the room just because they are a difficult student. The school board should allow all staff & parents to voice their opinions in writing secretly on ideas of how to help the budget. The staff at each individual school has a better idea of who is needed and who isn't. The sad part is that this coming year teachers were cut and next year we will be begging for teachers. The good ones will be gone and we will end up with more bad ones who don't care like the ones the corp got rid of.

    -- Posted by seriously do people think on Fri, Apr 16, 2010, at 8:13 PM
  • Well it seems to me that Putnam County just needs one big school corporation like most counties do that are much larger than us and they need to re-divide the school lines. I have 3 school systems on my road that I live on! That is ridiculous, considering that I didn't go to the same school as my neighbors growing up.

    -- Posted by cattlequeen on Sat, Apr 17, 2010, at 12:24 AM
  • "For example why does the school need 2 secretaries??(they don't) why do they need so many instructional assistants? Have the teachers share. Why do they need 2 people to run the library? An instructional asst does it most of the week and she does great!! When they made their choices on which teachers to get rid of they should have looked at more than just senority."

    Secretaries: As of now, Bainbridge has 1 administrator and 2 secretaries. There are days when one or more of them are out. The Administrator has meetings to attend, so what happens when the only secretary is absent and there is no one to run the office, give out medicine to children, answer the phones, enroll students, etc.

    Instructional Assistants: Most aides are paid so little it would take about 3-5 of them to save one teacher. The funds that pay for some aides are from grants which cannot be placed in the general budget. They have hallway duties, lunch duties, dismissal duties, substitute when subs cannot be found, and teach library and computers.

    Libraries: If you checked the list of RIFs, two of them were the licensed media specialists. One has 18 years experience and another has 15 years experience. The job is more than "checking out books" to children. Unfortunately in education, experience does not pay off. They will probably never find another position in a school because schools do not want to pay for experience. Essentially, North Putnam has ended their careers.

    No one wants to see anyone go, including the kindergarten teachers. But I thought I'd voice some concerns from other side of your thoughts.

    -- Posted by npcrazy on Sat, Apr 17, 2010, at 6:05 PM
  • I could not have said it any better. Media Specialist's are important to the students, staff and community. It is a shame that North Putnam did not spend much time thinking of ways to reduce their deficit. In time it will be the students who will pay "the price".

    -- Posted by transplant01 on Wed, Apr 21, 2010, at 10:55 AM
  • When you all talk about the "learning centers" you need to think about where these schools are located. Most of the schools are in a larger town and not in a rural setting. Most of these "learning centers" are within 4 or 5 blocks from each other! How would you like to have to drive 7 miles one way to pick up your student at Roachdale then head toward Bainbridge (again)just to go to Greencastle for a doctors appointment?

    "Learning Centers" are for larger schools and are for schools in the large urban areas...use your heads!!

    I really like how someone said, there are only two classes that are overly enrolled. Two years and then things back to normal. So, lets change everything for those two years and then back? What are you thinking? It is odd when Roachdale had 30 student in a class and nothing was said. Like they say the squeky wheel gets greased!I did not hear anyone complaining at Roachdale. It is strange how the school board and some administors put the two schools against each other. It is not the teachers putting schools against each other.

    -- Posted by joey1 on Wed, Apr 21, 2010, at 6:07 PM
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