Board member wary of North Putnam tax rate
BAINBRIDGE -- With a smaller audience than usual given fall break, the North Putnam School Board acted on only one item on its agenda during its monthly meeting Thursday evening.
The board approved its final advertised budget for 2019 with about $18,750,000 to be requested from the state, with one dissent from board member John Hays.
Hays expressed concern with advertising the budget on the higher side, as well as the potential for a tax increase to accommodate it.
“It puts me in a rough spot to see what we need as a school system, as well as represent the taxpayers as a taxpayer myself,” Hays expressed. “A tax increase in the next few years matters to people.”
Hays referred to a $1.05 advertised tax rate that accompanied the budget, which he said made him nervous despite it not being approved at a set amount.
North Putnam Superintendent Nicole Singer reiterated that it was necessary to advertise high to obtain as much funding as possible, and that it was still unlikely that the full amount would be approved. Singer also related that the tax rate was still lower than what other corporations in the county advertised.
“We really don’t get what we ask for usually,” board member Travis Lambermont provided further. “It’s still just an advertisement, and we have to see what the state says.”
The tax rate that goes toward the schools currently stands at 69 cents, according to Treasurer Tanya Pearson.
The board also approved a related resolution that would allow for the amending of budgets which may be necessary from year-to-year. Singer explained that having the ability to shed unused funds from a budget would allow for funding that may be needed more in the next year.
The budget will be sent to the DLGF (Department of Local Government Finance) for review. A response from the state on how much money will be alloted will be expected at the end of the year.
The board also heard additional input from North Putnam High School Principal Jason Chew regarding the implementation of Graduation Pathways, which accommodates recent state legislative action aimed at helping high school students graduate.
The new plan will offer different avenues for students to gain work experience along what they learn in the classroom. These avenues are designed to help students who have been unable to pass the ISTEP+ tests.
Chew expressed that the ISTEP+ has been widely considered as a poor measure of student success and competency, and that the new requirements will better help prepare students who are not the “high achievers” with regard to testing.
Graduation Pathways is set to be fully implemented as an option for students in the Class of 2023, but current high schoolers can opt into the plan if they wish.
Chew acknowledged that determining the different paths students can take could be overwhelming. As such, he said that school administrators at North Putnam are talking with other area school officials on how to simplify the process.
Due to teachers and students being out of school for fall break, the board did not recognize a Teacher of the Month for October.
The board also approved the following personnel report:
• New Hires: Michelle Edwards, middle school custodian; Dominique Owens, Bainbridge instructional assistant; Katherine Parker, Roachdale instructional assistant; Krystal Turpin, Bainbridge instructional assistant; Laren Standford, high school assistant football coach; Sam Carnes, high school strength and conditioning coach; Jarrod Duff, high school strength and conditioning coach; Jared Allgood, high school assistant wrestling coach; Doug Parent, seventh-grade boys’ basketball assistant coach; Chris Geeser, high school volunteer boys’ basketball assistant coach; Josh Quattrocchi, high school volunteer boys’ basketball coach; and Craig Franklin, high school volunteer boys’ basketball assistant coach.
• Leaves of Absence: Norma Robertson, middle school cafeteria aide; Sharon Davis, Bainbridge instructional assistant and bus driver; Christine Miller, high school instructional assistant; and Kayla Mahoy, high school cafeteria aide.
The next regular meeting of the North Putnam School Board is scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 15 at 7 p.m. at the Administration Office in Bainbridge.