Night schools and new playgrounds at Greencastle

Thursday, March 10, 2011

GREENCASTLE -- A report on the night school options at Greencastle High School was presented at the Greencastle Community School Corporation Board of Trustees meeting Wednesday.

The presentation began with an introduction from high school principal Randy Corn before moving to Ryan Keller, who runs the night school and teaches biology.

"We currently have had 24 students since starting in October," Keller said. "We've awarded 14 credits so far. When we started this, I had a goal of awarding 20 credits by the end of the year and we should blow that out of the water."

The program currently consists of only high school students, but people over that age can attend and receive a diploma. The diploma would simply say Greencastle High School, according to Corn, with no indication of night school.

Funding for replacement playground equipment at Tzouanakis Intermediate School was approved at the meeting.

"We've lost 60 percent of our playground. We're not adding to it, just trying to get it back," Tzouanakis principal Daniel TeGrotenhuis said.

Insurance inspections had necessitated the removal of different equipment, such as slides and climbing equipment.

"The new equipment is built by an inspector and guaranteed to pass insurance inspection," TeGrotenhuis said.

"Originally we were going to fund this over two years," superintendent Bob Green said. "The company came back with an impressive bid."

By doing the project in one year instead of two, the board lowers the cost from $30,000 to $25, 608.90.

One issue on the budget was $4,325.59 to repair a fire hydrant. Board secretary Michael Dean asked why the school has to pay to repair a city hydrant.

"I questioned that a couple of years ago," Green said. "That's just the way it's done down here."

Dean asked the town be questioned about that. He said he can't ever think of a private citizen paying for a fire hydrant to be repaired.

The board approved possible funding for summer school. The state reimburses a part of that, depending on available funds and how many schools take the funding.

"We don't really know what the funding will be until after the fact," Green said. "The lowest (the state funding) has ever been was 47 percent. On average, it's about 58 percent."

Green said last year there was full funding, but suggested this was because the economy caused schools to cut back on summer school options, so there was a large pile of money available.

Green said that the schools generally budget about $38,000, and can reasonably expect $19,000 in reimbursement from the state.

The program will have a variety of classes.

The board voted to add biology 1 honors and Earth and space science as classes. Earth and space science would need a teacher with a certificate in the course, which Khristen Phillips, an integrated chemistry teacher has already taken a test to receive.

Board vice president Kelly Lewis asked if it wouldn't make sense to vote at the next session, pending the results of that test. He was told that having the class approved doesn't mean it has to be offered. The schedule changes were approved.

Green brought up for discussion the possibility of moving when the executive sessions occur. He said that it can sometimes seem like a conflict of interest to have them directly before the meeting.

"I've heard that brought up," Green said. "Not necessarily here, but in other areas."

Board member Monica Fennell suggested that the meetings could be held at the half way point between regular board meetings. Dean and Lewis both took issue with the idea.

"I understand the issue, but do we really want to do something so drastic (as change the meeting time?" Dean said.

"There are always personnel issues that come up or whatever," he said.

The board went back and forth on the idea. No vote was required, as it was just a discussion point.

The board voted to phase out the discounted insurance rate that it receives.

"Teachers made sacrifices in insurance, administrators made sacrifices," board president Bruce Stinebrickner. "It's just in keeping with that."

Board members can still buy into the insurance, just not at a discounted rate. Stinebrickner said that the discount could save something $10,000 a year on a family insurance rate. Board members can keep the previous rate until the end of their current term.

The board approved a mandated $3,000 digitizing of stored school board minutes. As a part of that approval, any historical group that is interested in them can have the original documents, provided that group pays $800 to have the records digitized in away that allows them to be preserved.

Stinebrickner applauded the recent student art show, including the Greencastle students that participated, the Putnam County Museum and the teachers.

In personnel, Pam Gardner resigned as cafeteria assistant in the high school, Jeffery McDonald resigned as the second shift custodian at the McAnally Center, Robin Knapp resigned as the high school softball coach, Kim Brattain resigned as the middle school swim coach, Hannah Strider was hired as a temporary teacher, Chandra Warmoth was hired as a full-time bus driver, Amanda Jellison was hired as a cafeteria assistant at the high school, Robyn Miller was hired as a cafeteria assistant at Tzouanakis, Luke Beasley was hired as a middle school swim head lay coach, Molly Harbison was hired as a milddle school swim assistant lay coach, Megan Soultz was approved as a volunteer assistant high school softball coach, Philip Troyer was approved as a volunteer assistant baseball coach, Chasity Wood was hired as a high school softball coach, Rebecca Greenlee was approved as a volunteer assistant girls track coach, Francie Glenn was approved as a volunteer assistant girls track coach and Melissa Wilson was hired as a high school softball assistant coach.

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