NPCS board talks of tech, NEOLA and swimming

Friday, October 17, 2014

BAINBRIDGE -- Technology upgrades, NEOLA and family swim night were addressed at the North Putnam Community School (NPCS) monthly board meeting Thursday night.

On the technology front, NPCS is planning to bring communication and security up to par with digital services that can provide better camera coverage of schools and buses as well as digital radios that will help provide clearer sound quality while simultaneously future-proofing system as digital radio bandwidth continues to be more relevant.

The digital radios will provide much clearer audio quality, partially because digital radios are able to "split" radio frequencies into smaller "slices," and therefore provide more channels in the same amount of radio bandwidth.

The board approved a bid of $48,848 for the upgrade, the cheapest option by a long shot, coming in at nearly half the amount of another bid.

Camera upgrades in the bus systems as well as school buildings were also brought up, discussing the need to replace the remaining analog cameras with newer digital cameras that will create a cohesive security recording system that will be capable of 24-hour recording and video retrieval of up to 30 days. The school corporation is presently awaiting bids for the camera upgrade.

The school system received a summary of the new IP-based telephone system installed by Steve Ricketts of Five Star Technology Solutions. The new phone system removes the need for roughly 180 phone lines, saving the corporation approximately $2,000 per month in phone bills.

Last month, the board began discussing a potential departure from its relationship with NEOLA, a service for developing and updating board policy, administrative guidelines and handbooks in compliance with state and federal guidelines.

The conversation continued as Superintendent Dan Noel informed the board that after meeting with Jim Halik, a representative of NEOLA, it was advised that a meeting with board members and Halik be scheduled to help answer questions and inform board members of the relationship between NEOLA and NPCS.

Halik will be present during the public meeting on Nov. 20.

With the success of the swimming program, the board was presented with a family swim night, which has been scheduled for 6-9 p.m. on Nov. 22.

In other business:

* Bainbridge Principal Rodney Simpson received a grant for $47,000 and North Putnam High School Assistant Principal Levi Yowell received an Innovative Planning Grant for $30,000.

* The school board approved the hiring of multiple FFA volunteers at North Putnam High School including Richard and Kim Bayless; Char and Jeff Coffman; Jenny Haus; Brien and Nancy Holsapple; Denise and Kevin Oxford; Ray and Heather Poynter; Nate Skirvin; Kristy Straziscar; Mark and Ann Timm; and Heather Nipper as FFA Horse and Pony Coach volunteer.

* The board approved the hiring of numerous athletic employees including Barry Arnold as NPHS assistant boys' basketball coach volunteer; Travis Franklin as NPHS boys' JV basketball coach; Dean Kleiber, Dale Lawler, Darrin Montgomery and Mike Murphy as NPHS/NPMS wrestling coach volunteers; Greg Murray as NPMS eighth-grade boys' basketball coach and Chelsea Smith as NPMS head golf coach.

* The board also approved Dan McMurtry as the new wellness coordinator for NPCS.

* The board accepted athletics department resignations from Lonnie Lawhorn as NPHS/NPMS volunteer coach and Linda Patrick from NPHS boys' head golf coach with a few comments from board member Oliver Haste, "On the record, I just want to say thanks," to both Lawhorn and Patrick for their commitment to the students and the school corporation.

* The board presented the idea of a debt service for the corporation's cafeteria and food services, suggesting that protocol be established for the school to refund any unused credits of $10 or more back to students, or to seek payment for $10 or more in owed credit from parents. It was suggested that debts of under $10 be donated to the textbook fund at the closing of an account.

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