North Putnam reports on renovation

Friday, August 21, 2015

BAINBRIDGE -- The North Putnam School Board discussed various items and issues concerning the new school year when it met Wednesday night for nearly three hours.

One prevailing item of discussion was the status of ongoing renovations. Several projects highlighted the evening, including solar farm activity, financing of middle school projects and a presentation from Johnson-Melloh.

Johnson-Melloh has taken an integral role in the restoration and energy-savings process. From solar farms to general repairs, representative Andy Cooper and Superintendent Dan Noel explained the scope of the projects.

"April (Lambermont) and I went around to all the buildings and we made a punch-list for each," Noel said. "We went through everything . . . and we're slowly but surely making sure that we get those items done."

Cooper followed with his update.

"Some of those items are going to be in future projects, but we've started a response to go through all of those," Cooper said, turning his attention to middle school projects A and B. "They're both the same type of project -- new energy savings."

Cooper went on to explain the specifics of the respective repairs. Though minor, they include lighting, flooring and roof-patching. Project A is "essentially complete" while the mechanical systems, which are the "main focus of Project A," have been complete for several weeks.

Project B mainly concerns the logistical and financial side of Project A. This includes forming preliminary plans, leasing and authorizing a publication notice of a hearing on the fifth amendment, the formation of a building corporation and, finally, a reimbursement resolution. All passed by at least a 5-2 vote.

In other news, informational presentations were given on the following items: notices of policies; board compensation; a conference report (from Jill Vandivier); the head mechanic's salary; maintenance (from Johnson-Melloh's Cooper); building tour maintenance (from Superintendent Noel); student count; general fund revenue; overtime status; fall athletics (from Tim Garver); mulch purchases (from Terry Tippin); bus drivers and their substitutes; the Insley roof (from Tippin); contract negotiations; athletic passes; "Football for Mothers 101"; high school renovation; ISBA and IAPSS fall conferences; health insurance; high school events; band calendars; fundraisers; and track renovation prices.

According to Noel, the student count of the entire corporation is down by 75 students from last year. This drop in numbers (with each student bringing in $4,500 allowances each year from the state) makes it difficult to raise funds.

Lambermont explained some of the more technical issues concerning student-loss.

"That's how much we get for each student, and we get additional funds for each honor student, special-needs students and technical or vocational classes," Lambermont said. "The Complexity Grant helps us so we're not devastated by the student loss . . . it comes in and provides tax dollars that we might have lost."

"We've tried to figure out exactly what the situation is," Noel said. "We know that some people have left our community and have gone to live with their grandparents, some are due to jobs -- when their parents move to Greencastle or Indianapolis, or wherever.

"We've done everything within our schools to make them as presentable, nice and attractive," Noel continued. "Our facilities are in great shape now, we have open enrollment . . . and we have not lost many students to the surrounding school corporations, with the exception of Danville."

The financial report concerning the approval of claims for "payment and payrolls" was unanimously approved, though some key issues, such as renovation exhibits A, B and C, received partial votes of 6-1 for approval. Board President John Hays was the only member to oppose. Information was also presented on both treasurer and school funds, requiring no action.

Approvals were given by the board for the following items: middle school and high school leasing projects; solar farm activity; bus drivers' handbook(s); the acceptance of a $5,000 award for the IH Tractor Restoration program; the acceptance of Dairy and Nutrition Council grants in the amount of $3,100; the use of LED lights for the corporation; overnight trips for the FFA to several locations around the Midwest; insurance rates for non-certified staff; the advertisement for a part-time bus barn and central office employee; a facility request for the Putnam County Swim Club to use the pool on Sept. 9; the advertisement of budgets; tax rates and levies; notice of expenditures; and school bus replacement.

A contract negotiations meeting will take place on Sept. 16 and 22 at 3:30 p.m. at Bainbridge. A public meeting regarding high school renovations will take place in North Putnam's auditorium on Sept. 2 and Sept. 9 at 6:30 p.m.

The next regular session for North Putnam schools will take place on Sept. 16, beginning at 7 p.m. at the administration office in Bainbridge.

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