Few action items on school board agenda, but members set stage for busy work session to come

Few action items were on the agenda of the Huntington County Community School Corporation’s Board of School Trustees at its regular meeting on Monday, May 22, but members set the stage for a busy public work session and subsequent board meeting to come.

The board voted 6-0 to award a contract to Wayne Asphalt to repave the front section of the high school parking lot, at a cost of $117,000. Board member Reed Christiansen was absent.

Assistant Superintendent for Business and Classified Staff Jon Bennett told the board the funding for the project would come from the corporation’s general obligation bond, leaving about $220,000 for more projects.

Bennett said he will bring quotes to fix problems with carpeting at Andrews, Lincoln and Flint Springs elementary schools at the next regular meeting on June 12.

The board also voted 6-0 to accept an extended school year for 2017-18 for special services.

“This is a proposal to meet all of the special education needs during the summer,” said Superintendent Randy Harris. “We have some students that require additional time in the summer.”

Board members also reviewed the proposed meeting dates of the school board on its new calendar, which goes from July 2017 to June 2018.

Harris said there is one board meeting in July, one in December, and one fewer board meeting next March because of spring break.
The board will vote on the meeting calendar on June 12.

On its first reading, the board unanimously voted to adopt an amended policy on the control of blood-borne pathogens.
Harris explained the policy change involves minor wording changes to keep in step with updates in the law.

Harris announced that the 2017 senior class at Huntington North High School will receive more than $2.9 million in scholarships.

“Congratulations for all your hard work,” Harris said, in acknowledgment of the graduating seniors. “We just have two more days of school and Friday night I will be thrilled.”

Alternative Education Coordinator Tony Burnworth addressed the board, and reported that 13 alternative ed students will graduate Friday. He expects four or five more will graduate after summer school has concluded.

“Typically we have between 30 and 50 enrollments at any one time; we see about 15 to 20 graduates per year, which, if you do the math, is about 4 to 6 percent. That’s significant,” Burnworth said, adding that the focus of alternative education is on offering a place to start over and developing a positive relationship with kids in the program.

The next public work session will be held Monday, June 5, at 7 p.m. in the boardroom of the Horace Mann Education Center. The board will hear a presentation from independent municipal advisor Umbaugh and Associates about the options to close or consolidate elementary schools. Transportation Director Vanessa Fields will also be in attendance to address busing issues with the proposed changes.

The board will also set aside a period for public comment, opting to wait until after the Umbaugh presentation to give the public the opportunity to weigh in.