South Putnam board reorganizes

Friday, January 15, 2021
While Hollie Hutcheson re-affirms her oath of office, Lisa Cooper takes hers Wednesday as a new member of the South Putnam School Board. Cooper succeeded Larry Bottorff representing Washington Township.
Banner Graphic/BRAND SELVIA

With its first meeting of the year focused on reorganization, the South Putnam School Board will have new leadership for 2021.

The board addressed other housekeeping items during this first meeting held Wednesday evening.

After a motion made by Anthony Heavin, the board voted to instate Craig Newby as the board president and Hollie Hutcheson as the vice president. Wes Hacker will retain his post as board secretary.

The board also approved a motion to retain Hilarie Logan as corporation treasurer, with Terri Beasley acting as deputy treasurer. Beasley was also approved as the privacy officer.

The board also approved Sutherlin, Zeiner & Barclay as the corporation’s legal representation for 2021.

The board also approved the members of the school corporation’s bid opening committee. These will include Beasley, Logan, Superintendent Bruce Bernhardt and board member Lisa Cooper, who volunteered.

The board then approved the salary and benefits each member would receive. Newby said each board member will basically earn $2,000 a year and have a small insurance policy.

In his monthly report, Bernhardt spoke on how contact tracing had recently affected routines in both South Putnam Middle School and South Putnam High School.

“That’s the roughest part of all of this,” Bernhardt said, noting that the middle/high school was out conducting e-learning. Meanwhile, both Central Elementary School and Fillmore Elementary School have been in school.

“It’s this contact tracing that’s really causing the biggest issues with us, and I suspect that will continue for a while,” Bernhardt concluded.

In other business:

• The board held its annual finance meeting. Bernhardt stated that the school corporation had accrued $31,394.65 in interest from its checking account in 2020.

• The board approved the Banner Graphic as the corporation’s newspaper for legal advertisements.

• The board approved for its meetings to continue being held on the second Wednesday of the month. The exception will be Oct. 20 (the third Wednesday) due to fall break.

• The board approved for Administrator Assistance to compose a “financial snapshot” of the school corporation. Administrator Assistance is guiding a search for a new superintendent after Bernhardt retires this year.

• The board approved an extension under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act which related to paid leave.

The legislation allows for school employees to receive 10 days’ paid leave if they are out for COVID-19-related reasons (i.e., sickness or contact tracing). The expansion does not add days, and will end on March 31.

The board also recognized South Putnam’s Students of the Month:

• Central Elementary School: Diana Mejia-Morales

• Fillmore Elementary School: Zarah Strange

• South Putnam Middle School: Jaydyn Gilson

• South Putnam High School: Cada Remsburg

Only Strange was able to attend the meeting.

The board also approved the following personnel report:

• Resignations:

-- Certified: Dorothy Hoffmann and Thomas Pryzbyla - MS/HS special education teachers;

• Maternity leave:

-- Certified: Megan Moore - Central Elementary teacher (May 3-May 27)

• New hires:

-- Certified: Zachery Rayce - MS/HS special education teacher;

-- ECA: Antonia Hernandez - middle-school wrestling coach.

Except for Hacker, all of the board was in attendance at the meeting.

The next regular meeting of the South Putnam School Board is scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 10 at 7 p.m. in the South Putnam MS/HS Learning Center.

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