Smith-Green settles year-end claims preparing for 2012

The Board also adopted the Expenditure Goal Resolution, which is required by every school corporation and essentially states that SGCS will do an analysis of the budget and attempt to increase expenditures for student instruction. 

Finally, the Board authorized SGCS to make short-term loans in the form of Tax Anticipation Warrants (TAW) for 2012 to help the district meet its expenditures, which may otherwise fall short due to property tax distribution delays.

The need for TAW is determined by 2011 cash flow projections. Fleetwood projects cash flows in the Transportation Fund and Capital Projects Fund to be negative at various times throughout 2012. 

The TAW will be issued by the Indiana Bond Bank and must be repaid by December 31, 2012. 

“Repayment should not cause any financial hardship for our district,” Fleetwood said. “We will be borrowing only short-term until property taxes are back on a timely distribution by year end. The 2012 budget includes money for interest on these loans.” 

Fleetwood projects loans to total less than $200,000 for Capital Projects and $86,000 for Transportation—figures much lower than the $400,000 borrowed in 2011 and between $500,000 and $600,000 borrowed in 2010. 

With counties collecting taxes more efficiently, Fleetwood said he hopes to continue to decrease the amount needed to borrow in the form of TAW. 

In other Board news:

CES teacher Judy Plat submitted a retirement letter effective at the end of the 2011-12 school year. Board members approved new hires Chris Telluf as the sponsor of an archery club at CJSHS at an annual salary of $345.00 and Douglas Cowdin as a substitute in the custodial department. In addition, the Board approved a part-time paraprofessional position to help children with special needs in the elementary school from 8:00-11:30 a.m. The paraprofessional will assist students in six different rooms, including in a kindergarten classroom with profound needs, in Cindy Kostoff’s expanding preschool class and an individual student with special needs who recently moved into the district. The position will be funded through a special education federal grant and will be re-evaluated based on the needs of the student population next school year. 

• CES music teacher Sue Lough will use a HANDS grant in the amount $492 to buy individualized books for each grade level for an integrated literacy program.

• Wayne Krider gave a report to the Board regarding Maintenance, Buildings and Grounds. Some highlights of the past year include repainting the cafeteria and elementary halls and doorways—a 45-gallon paint job—in addition to the installation of 3,500 feet of network cable for wireless access points and drops. Krider said the custodial staff cleans over 200,000 square feet of building in an average day.

Each member of the Board, Superintendent Steve Darnell and Building Principals Shellie Miller and Austin Couch praised Krider for his commitment to the corporation.

“You can tell Wayne has a passion for his work,” School Board President Tanya Young said. 

“He does a fantastic job keeping the equipment going and keeping the custodial staff going,” Darnell said. 

“I can’t take all the credit,” Krider said. “I have a good group of people over there.” 

• Boardmembers previously questioned CJSHS administrators regarding the policy of weighted grades. As parents of gifted students themselves, several Board members were concerned that students who take an easier course load end up graduating with a higher class rank than students who participate in more difficult Honors, Advanced Placement (AP) and Dual Credit (college) classes. CJSHS Principal Austin Couch presented a report regarding the school’s policy for weighting grades and figuring a student’s grade point average (GPA). 

Couch reported that the high school has used a weighted grading system since the 2005-06 school year, though it is not widely known about among students and parents. Couch said he will be attending a principal study council in January to investigate other school districts’ policies regarding weighted grades and then he will report back to the Board.

Board member Cathy Petrie is an advocate for weighted grades because she said the policy rewards kids for taking tougher courses even though they face the possibility of getting a lower grade. She also said that parents have expressed concerns about their 8th grade student taking Algebra and the effect it has on his or her high school GPA.

Couch said that students must weigh their AP opportunities and put a lot of planning into the scheduling process to get the most out of the limited staff and opportunities offered at a district the size of SGCS. However, Couch assured the Board that the district keeps expanding course offerings.

“More opportunities are being offered in grades 8-12 than ever before for a school of our size,” Couch said. 

• The CES Character Counts team, comprised of Karen Eckert, Cassie Hill, Jennifer Lee and Dawn O’Connor, was recognized as the Teachers of the Month. 

“These ladies volunteered to be a part of this committee and have worked endless hours to embed this program into our family culture at CES,” CES Principal Shellie Miller said. 

The Character Counts team organized a 5k family friendly walk/run and raised and donated $1,529 to the Whitley County Humane Shelter. 

The next regular scheduled Board meeting is Monday, December 19 at 6:30 p.m. in the Board Room of the Administrative Building. 

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