School board also discusses textbook rental, HNHS renovations

Other items discussed during the Huntington County Community School Cooperation Board of Trustees meeting on Monday, July 20, included some adoptions and updates.

The board of trustees approved the adoption of a new animal science textbook for Huntington North High School.

Textbook rental fees were established so the information could be given out prior to student registration.

Upon discussion, board member Thomas King questioned whether the corporation could provide free book rental to students as part of its budget. Superintendent of Instruction Chuck Grable said that would entail paying a sum of $300,000 to $400,000 a year. It is not prohibited, Grable added, but it is rarely done. Deputy Treasurer David McKee said it's permissible to pay for this through the general fund.

King opposed the passing of textbook rental, but it passed through 5-1.

Member Rex Baxter brought to the board's attention that Pamela Grube, new classified kitchen manager at Huntington North, has been working in the role of manager since Marjorie Decker died last school year. Baxter wants to back compensate Grube for her manager position even though she was just passed as a new classified staff. The board voted to table the issue and bring it back to the next meeting after research can be done to figure out when and how much she took over the role during the absence of Tom Lentes, head of the corporation's food service, to appropriately calculate her compensation.

President Kevin Patrick said he "feels terrible" for missing this and doesn't want to underpay someone for his or her work.

The purchase of nine corporation buses was approved. Six 72-passenger buses will be bought along with three white special purpose buses. The cost was $627,464.28 with a trade-in value of $107,600.00; the net cost was $519,864.28. McKee said the corporation is trying to reduce spare buses and incorporate some spares into regular routes.

Also discussed again were renovations at the high school.

"Some of these needs are mechanical facility updates that need to be done, others are kind of based on curriculum program needs of the school," said McKee.

He said if they do all the proposed things in one phase (duct work, ventilation, small communities movement of the media center, science lab and main office), the total cost would be close to $9 million. If the construction is made into two or up to five phases, the cost would be close to $10 million.

During the June 22 meeting, creating "small learning communities" within the high school was discussed.
The school would be split roughly into four parts to develop these communities, Dana Wannemacher, a renovation representative from the engineering and architectural firm Barton Coe Vilamaa, told board members at that time.

To do this, school administrators are looking into moving the media center and/or the science labs to be able to have open space to collaborate. This could also involved moving or using the commons area.

Another idea discussed by the board at the meeting is to make a three-way move of each the media center, science lab and the main office. The main office would be moved to where the science labs are at for security purposes. The science labs would replace the media center, and the media center would be moved to the location of the current main office.