North Putnam cuts 15 certified staff
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.