Schools’ referendum website up and running

A website explaining the purpose of the proposed 2016 referendum for Brown County Schools is now running.

The address is

It features a “frequently asked question” section, a calculator that can be used to estimate tax increases if the referendum passes, blog posts from Superintendent David Shaffer about the referendum and a countdown to when the polls open.

The site was paid for by the school district’s political action committee, Taxpayers for Brown County Schools.

The PAC is comprised of members from the community who wish to persuade voters to vote for the referendum in May.

Teachers and principals are not allowed to express support for the referendum during the school day. Because of that limitation, the referendum website cannot be published on the school district’s website.

Paper/pencil requested for round two of ISTEP

Brown County Schools has asked the state if it can take the second part of the ISTEP+ exam using paper and pencil instead of online.

“Our work with the readiness tests is that Pearson will have problems statewide with delivering the test. We’re worried we’re going to have similar issues statewide this year like we had last year,” said Superintendent David Shaffer said.

Students took two readiness tests earlier in the year. The first test had problems including Java notifications popping up. On some computers, the Pearson testing platform icon didn’t appear.

The second readiness test had even more problems, said Director of Student Learning Debbie Harman.

Third- through eighth-grade students and 10th-graders will take ISTEP in two parts, somewhere in the windows of Feb. 29 to March 11 and April 18 to May 6.

District officials decided last fall to take the first part of spring ISTEPs with paper and pencil.

Students will be required to take an additional component of ISTEP online. That section includes questions that are being vetted for next year’s exam and the only way to access the section is online, Harman added.

School board approves personnel changes

At the Feb. 4 and Feb. 18 Brown County School Board of Trustees meetings, members approved the following:

  • A revised 2016-2017 school calendar. The original was one day short of the 180-day state requirement. April 17 will now be listed as a day students must be in school instead of as a snow make-up day.
  • The retirement notices of Alice Mannix and Peggy Thompson effective at the end of the school year.
  • Establishing a food service administrative assistant job. It will be posted and filled at a later date. This person will help the food service director with daily tasks and long-term projects and will be paid for out of the food service budget.
  • Extending contracts by one year for the following administrators: Assistant Superintendent Dennis Goldberg, Brown County High School Principal Shane Killinger, Brown County Junior High Principal Brian Garman, Brown County Intermediate School Principal Trent Austin, Sprunica Elementary School Principal Abbie Oliver, Helmsburg Elementary School Principal Kelli Bruner, Van Buren Elementary School Principal Christy Wrightsman, high school Assistant Principal Angie Evans, junior high Assistant Principal Gavin Steele, intermediate school Assistant Principal Greg Pagnard, Director of Student Learning Debbie Harman and Director of Student Services Alan Kosinski.
  • The separation of Helmsburg after-school care provider Ethan Best, effective immediately. This was not a termination.
  • The separation of high school varsity girls soccer assistant coach Hannah Newlin, effective immediately. This was not a termination.

Entities agree on need to meet with DNR

County and town government and local organizations are all on board to improve cooperation with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.

“It’s really nice to see every single player in the county and the town come together and say, ‘This is important,'” Town Manager/Economic Director Scott Rudd told the town council Feb. 18.

Rudd has told those bodies that the negative discussions and social media backlash over the new mountain bike permits on state land inspired him to try to find a way to work with, rather than against, the DNR.

He wants to encourage the DNR to think of the state park as more of a part of the county and town and vice-versa, because both depend on each other for their economic health.

Rudd said he expects to meet with DNR representatives sometime in the first week of March.

Town exploring ways to be more RV-friendly

President Charles “Buzz” King told the Nashville Town Council Feb. 18 that Nashville needs to address a lack of parking for recreational vehicles and buses.

Council member David Rudd agreed, noting that the town is filled with signs forbidding RV parking on streets, yet there is no alternative parking lot for them.

King said he would like the town to look at land that is not suited to other uses and consider turning it into a lot for RVs and buses.

Town street striping to be redone this spring

Town Utility Coordinator Sean Cassiday expects to meet with a representative of AAA Striping out of Columbus in the first week of March to discuss street painting throughout Nashville.

Over the years, parking spaces around town have changed size and “crept,” Cassiday said. Some are not to code, leaving insufficient space between parking spaces and intersections.

The cost of hiring AAA Stripers to do the work comes out to less than it would cost to use town employees, Cassiday said.

Cassiday would like to have all striping done by the end of spring, he said.

$5,000 water leak found at fairgrounds

A new leak has sprung behind the Purdue Extension office at the Brown County Fairgrounds, resulting in a $5,000 water bill for the county.

County Commissioner Diana Biddle plans to ask Nashville Utilities to adjust the bill. In response to past leaks, the town has removed some of the wastewater treatment cost because most of the water didn’t flow into the sewer system.

Biddle said the current plan is to run a new water line from the road, due to the age of the existing pipes and concern that the town may not be willing to give an adjustment if the old pipe continues to be used.