SCHOOL BOARD NEWS: Enrollment study, credit cards, policy changes

Consultants to study enrollment, building use

A study on Brown County Schools’ financial condition, enrollment and the use of school facilities will begin in 2017.

The school board approved spending up to $10,000 on the study at the Nov. 17 meeting. Superintendent Laura Hammack estimated it would cost $5,000.

The study, led by Educational Services Company, will be a comprehensive analysis of the district’s fiscal situation “so that we can make smart decisions for the long term,” Hammack said.

Bob Harris, who helped with the formation of the district’s 2017 budget, and Don Dyck will study current and projected financial conditions, including debt, expenses and “considerations for future referendums”; the capacities, conditions and use of school buildings; student enrollment projections, including county birth rates; and other factors.

“This analysis can also lead to potential trigger points to guide future fiscal, staffing, programmatic and facility decisions,” the proposal reads.

The report will be shared with the district’s strategic planning team. The next meeting is Dec. 22 at Brown County Intermediate School.

Enrollment in Brown County schools has been on a fairly steady downward trend for at least a decade. Local birth rates and population trends will be studied “to see if the current enrollment issue is a blip or an actual reality we need to plan for,” Hammack said.

School administrators to get credit cards

When Brown County Schools administrators make purchases for district use, they won’t have to check out a credit card from the central office anymore.

The school board is considering contracts with two different banks that would allow between 13 and 15 administrators to carry school district credit cards. The board is expected to decide to go with either PNC or Chase at the Dec. 1 meeting at Van Buren Elementary School.

Previously, administrators in outlying school buildings have had to come to the administration building in Nashville to get one of the district’s three shared cards.

“This is really an increase in efficiencies,” Superintendent Laura Hammack said.

Administrators will still have to follow the district’s purchase order approval process and provide receipts to the district’s treasurer.

“It’s not that folks can just go out and spend whatever they want to spend,” Hammack said.

Mileage policy changed for school-related trips

The Brown County School Board of Trustees approved a change to a policy that will allow school employees to use their own vehicles on school-related trips and receive a mileage reimbursement.In the past, district employees who needed to go out of town for a conference, workshop, field trip or other functions were only able to receive reimbursement for miles driven in their own vehicle if the district’s large SUV was unavailable for them to drive.

The policy has been rewritten to allow employees to use their vehicles and receive mileage reimbursement — at 54 cents a gallon — if they prefer.

“The corporation vehicle is a very large Excursion. It’s huge and wonderful because we can take a lot of people to professional developments in one go. But if one person is going to any kind of opportunity, then that policy really doesn’t add up,” Hammack told the board Nov. 17.

Board approves personnel changes, donation

The Brown County School Board of Trustees approved the following Nov. 17:

  • Substitute contracted services with Kelly Educational Staffing. This company will handle the hiring, scheduling and payment for substitute teachers. (More was written about the arrangement in the Nov. 16 paper.)
  • A $2,500 donation to the Brown County High School Athletic Department from the Indiana Army National Guard. Athletic Director Mark Bruner said the donation will go into the school’s athletic fund and will be used to buy various items for high school athletes.
  • The suspension of Brown County Schools Administrative Guideline 7250, “Commemoration of School Facilities,” Condition D. It states that “the individual for whom the facility is to be named shall be deceased or have severed ties with the school corporation for at least five years.” The suspension was approved solely for naming the Large Group Instruction room at Brown County High School as The Goldberg Room in honor of former Assistant Superintendent Dennis Goldberg, who passed away this year.
  • Appointing BCHS intense intervention paraprofessional John David Sindlinger, full-time with benefits, $11 per hour, seven hours per day, effective Nov. 14, as a replacement for Debra Arnold.
  • Appointing Van Buren Elementary School long-term substitute science teacher Jennifer Deckard, full-time, 120 days, $242.73 per day, level M-5, effective Nov. 14.