Meeting: Greater Jasper Schools

The Greater Jasper School Board met Monday and:

• Heard a presentation about happenings at Ireland Elementary School, including community outreach events, disability education events, career-readiness education and science, technology, engineering and math — STEM — programs.

• Heard a presentation on the countywide Regional Opportunities Initiative grant that the four school corporations were awarded to amp up career and technical education and career readiness in the county. Vincennes University partnered with the schools on the grant to set up Hub 19, an office at the university that oversees the grant. The funds focus on career exploration and training opportunities with a focus on local industries, on STEM education and on employability skills. Some of the grant money is earmarked for a robotics academy to be housed at Vincennes University Jasper Campus that will offer high school students college-level courses and credits.

• Heard an update on the Jasper High School handbook. The major changes are to course offerings. Starting next year, the school will offer several more Advanced Placement courses, but will no longer offer the lifeguard training course.

• Approved purchasing new teacher devices for the elementary levels from Apple for $13,307. The corporation will participate in Apple’s buy-back program for the old devices, which will save some money.

• Saw an example of a 3D-printed, plastic ornament that corporation elementary students made as part of their STEM instruction.

• Heard that the corporation purchased a classroom set of Google Expedition virtual reality goggles and smartphones using the Title IV grant. The technology lets students have virtual field trips connected to their lessons to places such as the pyramids in Egypt.

• Heard that the Jasper Elementary School project is about 21 percent complete with structural work continuing this month and into January. The project is on track to be completed by spring 2020.

• Approved Clerk of the Works Scott Stenftenagel to seek bids for parking lot work at Jasper Middle School to change pick-up and drop-off traffic patterns in conjunction with the Jasper Elementary School project. Jasper Elementary is being built just north of JMS, and the two buildings will be connected by driveways to create a single campus. The corporation previously solicited bids for only the north parking lot hoping to attract smaller, local contractors, but only received one bid over budget. Stenftenagel hopes that including both parking areas in the bid package will attract more competitive bids. The new bids will be opened at the board’s Jan. 28 board meeting, set for 7 p.m. at the corporation office, 1520 St. Charles St.

• Approved Gibraltar Design of Indianapolis to complete design work for replacement of the gym roof and repainting the metal roof panels at Ireland Elementary for $21,500.

• Approved the resignations of high school head football coach Tony Ahrens and Ireland Elementary instructional assistant Naomi Edwards.

• Approved hiring Tori Testerman as an instructional assistant at Ireland Elementary.

• Heard that the Indiana Department of Local Government Finance returned the school’s 2019 budget with cuts. The final tax rate for the school will be $1.09 per $100,000 of assessed value, the same as the 2018 rate.

• Heard that as of Jan. 1, the education and operations funds will replace several current school funds, per state law. The general fund will become the education fund, and the capital projects, bus replacement and transportation funds will combine to form the operations fund. The debt service and rainy day funds will remain as they are.

• Approved the high school jazz band to attend the Indiana State School Music Association state qualifying contest and Ball State Jazz Festival in March.

• Scheduled the 2019 reorganization meeting for 7:30 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 3, at the corporation office.

• Congratulated former board member and Jasper High School graduate Mike Braun on being elected to the U.S. Senate in the November election.

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