PIERCETON — Whitko Community School Corporation’s Board of Trustees opened Monday evening’s agenda with a budget review for 2013 presented by Director of Financial Operations Tom McFarland.
“I’ve been working on the 2013 budget over the summer and there’s not a whole lot of changes from the prior two years,” McFarland said. “The General Fund budget we are advertising more appropriations, with the 2012 budget at $11,400,000 and the 2013 budget advertised at $11,800,000 just mainly because we had a larger cash balance. There is no more revenue and expenses are looking like they will stay fairly flat.”
The 2013 budget reflects two retirees and one less teacher at Pierceton Elementary School. McFarland said there is a savings in the General Fund which will be offset by inflation.
“I expect we will spend around $11,200,000 or $11,300,000 versus $11,800,000,” McFarland said.
The transportation budget will remain the same as last year with the Capital Projects Fund (CPF) inflated compared to what is normally approved, which is typical according to McFarland.
“The Capital Budget Fund is rate capped so we over inflated that one just to protect our rate,” McFarland said. “The main difference between this year and last year is the Pension Fund which is affected by the Bus Replacement Fund.”
WCSC School Board Secretary Roger Boggs questioned McFarland on bus replacement for special education students.
“The special education bus is on the road all the time and will be replaced soon,” McFarland said. “We will be replacing all 2000 (model year) buses.”
“We are also at capacity with our special education buses,” WCSC Superintendent Steve Clason said.
The board gave McFarland permission to advertise the proposed 2013 budget, as required.
The WCSC board of school trustees regular board meeting followed the budget presentation with resignations, transfers and new employment actions as follows: Cindy Hicks — resignation as ISS/study hall monitor and student council sponsor at Whitko High School (WHS); Beth Hall - resignation as health clerk at Whitko Middle School (WMS); Steve Zimmerman - resignation as junior class sponsor at WHS; Ashley Little - resignation as crossing guard at PES; Matt Slusher - resignation as assistant football coach at WHS; Laura Richardson - verbal resignation as cafeteria clerk at WMS; Kay Gilson - resignation as musical choreographer at WHS; Rachael LePage - resignation as rehearsal pianist at WHS; Ashley Roberts - second grade teacher at PES; Gabe Fitzsimmons - third grade teacher at PES; Jolee Dimente - transfer from resource assistant at WHS to health clerk at WMS; Carissa Jackson - transfer from cook at WHS to resource assistant at PES; Julie Wolfe - study hall monitor/ISS supervisor at WHS; Janet Thompson - café clerk at WMS; Janet Arnold - resource assistant at WMS; Linda Hoskins - part-time custodian at WHS; Toni Webb - resource assistant at WHS; Brad Clark - assistant football coach at WHS; and Michelle McCrum - crossing guard at PES.
Authorization to create a new crossing guard position for South Whitley Elementary School (SWES) students who reside east of State Street (or St. Rd. 5) was approved by the board with WCSC Vice-President Jorell Tucker making the recommendation at the last meeting.
“I made a couple of phone calls and e-mailed, then met with some people with the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) and there will be a designated crosswalk at the corner of Columbia and St. Rd. 5,” Clason said. “There will soon be a designated crosswalk put in and we (WCSC) looked at different lighting.”
The crossing guard will be responsible for maintaining this area one-half hour before and after school with crossing lines to be painted in the near future.
Tucker advised staff members to communicate this information to those students who reside east of State Street.
In building updates, PES Principal Eric Speicher commented on online student registration which was available this year.
“Parents who had two or three students all attending PES would normally take 15 to 20 minutes for registration, but online registration took two or three minutes for registration,” Speicher said. “A lot of parents thanked us (PES) and said the registration was more user-friendly.”
Speicher commented on the Positive Behavior Intervention Support (PBIS) committee which is a school-wide plan for promoting positive, appropriate behaviors at schools. PBIS teaches behavioral expectations and social behavior the same way academic skills are taught. PBIS asserts that consequences do not change behavior, teaching changes behavior. PBIS allows students to grow and encourages development of academic, social and behavioral skills of each individual student.
“Summer break is a great thing, but it is a bad thing when we (PES) are trying to get kids back on board and do what they need to do,” Speicher said.
The Accelerated Reader program will soon be available at PES where students choose a book which is read to them, read with someone, or read independently. A comprehension quiz on the book is taken and students earn points. Each month and trimester, prizes are given to students who earn a specified number of points.
“SWES has had the Accelerated Reader program for a few years, but PES hasn’t,” Speicher said. “We (PES) will try (Accelerated Reader program) for at least two years but it isn’t up and running yet. Accelerated Reader program should be up and running at PES in mid-September.”
SWES principal Bruce Hansen said the yearly tradition of preparing classrooms continued this year with teachers decorating their classrooms weeks before school begins.
“They (SWES teachers) created wonderful bulletin boards and additional classroom displays,” Hansen said. “Back-to-School night before school began was very well attended.”
SWES Back-to-School night included a one night only scholastic book fair organized by Sue Lopshire.
“Not (scholastic book fair) quite as productive as we thought it might be,” Hansen said. “Book fairs later in the (school) year are much more successful.”
According to Hansen, sports will come back to SWES with cross country to begin within a week.
The South Whitley United Methodist Church (SWUMC) has formed a backpack program for students and families in need. Backpacks (with food) are provided to those who qualify every Friday after school.
“It’s just our (SWES) job to distribute the backpacks,” Hansen said.
Attendance at SWES has dropped this school year with 348 students enrolled last year, compared to 344 this year.
SWES picture day is slated for Aug. 28.
WMS Principal Parrish Kruger commented on sixth-grade orientation which went well.
“I liked the (orientation) format and how it went,” Kruger said.
WHS Principal David Parker said the first four days of school were phenomenal with staff members well prepared.
“Ninth-grade orientation was at 93 percent attendance,” Parker said. “Our WHS goals include a positive influence, high achievements and marketing improvements. Things have gone off to a great start.”
The next regular monthly meeting is at 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 17 which will include a public hearing on the proposed budgets and the adoption of the CPF and bus replacement plans.